Copenhagen Airport (CPH) has just signed beneficial airport charges agreements with easyJet, Norwegian, SAS, and IATA (which represent 85% of traffic at CPH) at rates which are among the lowest in Europe.

The airport’s CEO, Thomas Woldbye, attributes the success of its airport services contracts to its status as Europe’s most efficient airport.

“Never before have we had such a high acceptance rate for a new charges agreement, but that only shows that we’ve managed to reach a sensible agreement that gives the airlines good conditions while also providing a basis for CPH to maintain the necessary level of investment,” says Woldbye.

Airport Spokesperson, Sørren Hedegaard Nielsen tells Skift that efficiency a key focus of the airport.

“We must provide efficient operations and a high level of service, so that passengers, airlines and our other customers choose Copenhagen Airport as their preferred gateway,” he says. “It must be profitable for airlines to fly to and from Copenhagen. The same applies to shops, restaurants and others that choose to operate a business here: it must be profitable. For this reason, we work hard to reduce the overall costs of operating a business at Copenhagen Airport.”

Hedegaard Nielsen says the airport maintains an ongoing “Customers Total Cost of Operation” plan, measuring and tracking the costs of various elements of the passenger process.

“We focus on a wide range of initiatives aimed at reducing airline operating costs, such as automated check-in, bag-drops and boarding, as well as initiatives designed to make the turn around process more efficient for airlines.” Hedegaard Nielsen explains. “We have designed and implemented ‘fast turnaround stands’ in order for airlines to reduce their time on the ground. These include an extra set of stairs provided by the airport for the passengers to disembark and embark from both the front and aft of the aircraft.”

The airport highlighted its accomplishments as part of its World Class Hub strategy, in its recent annual report:

  • In 2013, CPH invested more than DKK 150 million (approx. $28 million) in improving the passenger experience, including an expansion of Terminal 2 to create more space for check-in and improved passenger flow.
  • The airport met its target to introduce at least one new unique brand at the shopping centre each year.
  • CPH defined a target of 85% passenger check-ins taking less than five minutes and met this target in 2013.
  • 85% of traffic at the airport was on time for 2013
  • 87.6% of all baggage was delivered within 35 minutes (last bag) in 2013.
  • 86% of all passengers were security screened in less than five minutes.

“It is not only our airline customers that we are working with,” Hedegaard Nielsen tells Skift, “we have worked together with Gebr. Heinemann who runs the tax-free shops on reducing their energy consumption.” Changing light sources to LED saves it $189,000 annually.

The Air Transport Research Society (ATRS), the world’s leading academic society in the air transport field, named Copenhagen Airport as Europe’s most efficient when it published the results of its annual benchmarking study this July. The study measures the operational and managerial efficiency, cost competitiveness, financial performance and airport user charges fo 200 airports and 26 airport groups in Canada, USA, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

“Although this is the ninth time in eleven years that Copenhagen Airport have won the award for being Europe’s most efficient airport, I guarantee you that we do not take the award for granted or expect to win it each year. In the last decade, competition among the major airports for routes, growth and jobs has intensified significantly, so we are very proud indeed to receive the award,” said Copenhagen Airports’ COO, Kristian Durhuus at the time.

All this efficiency is paying off. The airport reported historic traffic growth for the first half of 2014; with 14,952,229 passengers using CPH through July–just over a million more than the same time last year.

July Traffic Figures CPH Airport

July Traffic Figures CPH Airport

Photo Credit: Special greeters at CPH equipped with Google Glass help passengers find their way during trials earlier this year. Ernst Tobisch / CPH Airport