Part 1 of the series "50 Years of Nuremberg Airport"
Spring 2005 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Nuremberg Airport – a good reason for starting a series on the eventful history of Nuremberg International Airport. The first part of this series provides useful and amusing information about the modest beginnings.
Shortly after the end of World War I, the cities of Nuremberg and Fürth suggested to the “Imperial Treasury” that the Atzenhof military airfield be leased for civil aviation purposes. One of the several predecessors of today’s airport then commenced operation in August 1920.
After several relocations, the Marienberg Airport was finally built and used for flight operations between 1939 and 1943, but was then totally destroyed by bombing raids. After further temporary locations, the day finally arrived on 6 April 1955:
The German Minister of Transport Dr. Seebohm inaugurated the first German airport built on a new site after the war – located between the fields of the “Knoblauchsland” market gardening area.
However, the new hope did not initially develop the way the three partners – the Federal Republic, the Free State of Bavaria and the City of Nuremberg – had anticipated: Lufthansa in particular hesitated about including the newcomer in its flight network. This changed in October 1956 when the scheduled Frankfurt –Nuremberg–Düsseldorf route opened. Other network carriers like the Dutch KLM followed promptly.
Then things happened quickly. The press reported an awesome sensation in October 1958, when "a real jet aircraft – an Air France Caravelle – approached Nuremberg for landing for the first time". The number of employees in and around the airport was some 330 (now over 3,700). In 1960, the then Director Heinz H. Starke was pleased to announce 100,000 passengers (now over 4.0 million).
Development advanced rapidly. The original site was soon bursting at the seams and was continuously extended in the 60s. More and more airlines flew to Nuremberg.
There were many reasons for rejoicing, such as the tremendous boom in package holidays, but dampers too of course. Such as the close shave when a Pan American DC 7b pancaked in February 1961 or the nosedive of a Convair Metropolitan in August 1966: A nose wheel broke on landing – two passengers were slightly injured when they tried to leave the aircraft before the passenger ramps were in place...