“Managing an airport goes far beyond the core business of aviation” – Interview with Mr. Jost Lammers, President and CEO of Munich Airport and Vice-Chair of ACI World

Yuliia Moravej by Yuliia Moravej | Mar 14, 2024

Come join us for a thought-provoking conversation with Mr. Jost Lammers, Chairman of the Management Board, President and CEO of Munich Airport, and the new Vice-Chair of the ACI World Governing Board. With his esteemed reputation in the aviation field, Mr. Lammers will offer his valuable experience and perspectives on the present dynamics, challenges, and future directions of the airport industry.

Munich Airport

Your career and expertise in the airport domain are quite remarkable. Under your leadership, despite the challenges with the national carrier performance, Budapest Airport prospered. You successfully led Munich Airport through the pandemic, the most intense turmoil the aviation industry has ever experienced. Now, the airport is witnessing an impressive 20% growth in passenger traffic. What is your secret, and what continues to excite you about this sector, even despite all the challenges?

Since my first day in the airport industry until today, I have been fascinated by the variety of activities, the diversity, and the international environment. I worked in Ground Operations in the beginning of my career and got to know airport work from the base.

Our Airport Campus is one big, exciting airport family – where else can you find such a large, cohesive structure of around 450 different companies with over 33,000 people working at one location? Munich Airport, for example, has developed into an Airport City and community in recent years, whose business goes far beyond the core business of aviation. Managing this Airport City is an exciting challenge for me as an aviation professional and I really enjoy it every day.

Jost Lammers, CEO of Munich Airport

Munich Airport finished 2023 with a very stable increase in traffic performance. How is 2024 looking now? Are you expecting the same optimistic trajectory, and what factors are contributing to it?

That’s right, after a corona-related dip we are happy to be able to look ahead and see passenger numbers on a continuous rise again. From January to December 2023, passenger numbers increased by five million year-on-year to a total of 37 million. With the current passenger volume, Munich Airport has reached about 80 percent of the record level from the pre-crisis year of 2019. Flight movements increased by six percent compared to 2022 to more than 300,000 takeoffs and landings. For the first time since the airport opened, the seat load factor exceeded 80 percent, reaching a record 81.3 percent. The steady growth due to the strong demand for air travel shows that people once again have a great interest in international mobility. The desire to travel is back in full force and business travel is also picking up continuously. This is a very positive sign for the entire industry and for our airport which underlines that air travel will continue to be an indispensable mode of transport in the future.

How does it look and feel to operate an international airport hub now? What are your main priorities and challenges?

Sustainable growth and connecting our region, Bavaria and Germany to the world is one of our main priorities. Since its opening in 1992, Munich Airport has developed into an international hub. Our unique joint venture and close cooperation with the Lufthansa Group are the key drivers of this success. The Lufthansa Group has been our business partner for more than 20 years, and together we have developed Munich Airport into a premium hub system by jointly building, operating and financing Terminal 2 and its satellite building. I am proud to be part of this success story. Our priority is to continuously improve service standards and our passenger experience. Thanks to this cooperation, Munich has become a leading European hub and is among the world’s top 10 airports in terms of connectivity and operational excellence. Nevertheless, it is an ongoing task to stay on track.

Munich Airport

Munich airport is pioneering digital innovation and sustainability. How do you balance airport growth with sustainability agendas?

We pursue economic, ecological, and social goals in order to meet the needs of all stakeholders at Munich Airport – and by the way, we are already doing this since 2010. We have a holistic understanding of the impact of our business activities. Our aim is to create long-term value while taking responsibility for our ecological and social environment.

We recently announced that we are strengthening our existing climate targets to achieve net-zero emissions by 2035 rather than 2050. Achieving NetZero2035 will be challenging and will require significant efforts in many areas. But we are taking on this challenge because, as a green mobility hub, we want to contribute to the decarbonization of aviation. Actions are planned in four main areas: energy supply, airport-specific facilities and technical infrastructure, buildings, and the vehicle fleet. Our investments in measures to increase energy efficiency and to achieve the NetZero target will lead to savings for our company in the medium and long term and therefore also support our growth and financial performance.

You are investing heavily in safety, security, and passenger experience improvements. You plan to fully transition to next-gen security technology by 2026. What results do you expect to see from this substantial investment?

Indeed, we are exploring and investing in many new technologies. Digitalization along the passenger journey as well as behind the visible airport scenes continues to gain momentum. It helps to make processes simpler and more efficient, eases workflows and procedures, and enhances a seamless travel experience. Among the many current measures and projects are, our innovative CT security scanners, biometric boarding pass checks, biometric access to gates and lounges, so-called “smart trolleys” for navigation, flight information and shopping offers, chatbots for passenger inquiries, self-checkout kiosks at our shops, self-order terminals in selected airport restaurants, sensor technology for calculating waiting times at security checkpoints, autonomous boarding bridges and robotic projects for ground handling services.

All these significant investments contribute to our focus on providing passengers with a seamless and premium experience.

Munich Airport

Could you name the top three main trends in the airport industry for 2024 and the coming years?

Sustainability and climate protection will be key issues for airports and the aviation industry as a whole. Reducing all CO2 emissions and making aviation NetZero is the industry’s shared goal for the coming years. To achieve net zero, airports must undertake increasing investments in measures in the areas of energy supply, airport-specific facilities, technical equipment, buildings and the vehicle fleet. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) will also change aviation. Politics need to set the course for this and strictly avoid carbon leakage. Most importantly, we need a level playing field with competitors outside the EU.

The digitization and automation of processes is and remains a top issue in the airport industry. The willingness to invest in new technologies and digital solutions will continue to grow. With the pandemic, the demand for touchless services has increased and will continue to do so. In the future, the focus will naturally be more on seamless, fast and easy passenger processes to maximize the travel experience, on simplifying work processes, increasing productivity and supporting employees in their work.

Another major trend will be that airports may take on the role as intermodal mobility hubs integrating aviation, autonomous vehicles, public rail connectivity and advanced air mobility, such as eVTOLs. In addition, we may see a transition from airports to “energy ports”. In the near future, airports will need to provide access to enormous amounts of green energy, and thus need to focus on the development of new on-site green energy production, storage and distribution facilities.

What value do you see for yourself and your airport from being a member of the ACI?

For us airports, ACI is an enormously important platform for partnership-based exchange and knowledge transfer. Especially when we are interacting with bodies and advocating for our industry, it is crucial that we speak with one voice to international institutions, opinion leaders and the media. So, whether it is the ACI Regions or ACI World, we can rely on ACI to be the voice of airports. We also create synergy effects through regular networking and can tackle operational and environmental challenges as well as crises together. The partnership allows us to see beyond our individual perspective and get a brighter view on the worldwide ecosystem of aviation. Let me give you an example: When it comes to NetZero, ACI is a major driver for the entire industry in order to achieve our carbon reduction targets. That is why it is critical that we align our efforts globally and ensure the efficient greening of our industry to prevent carbon leakage and secure our license to grow for the future.

Munich Airport

What are your main priorities in your role as the new Vice-Chair of the ACI World Governing Board?

ACI’s success is based on serving its members in all regions of the world. We are doing this best with strong ACI Regions dealing with regional issues and regulatory bodies and ACI World dealing with global issues and regulatory bodies such as ICAO, as well as developing global programs. I consider it a key priority to keep this balance stable and fruitful in order to raise our airports’ voice strongly – in the regions and on a global level.

Jost Lammers is the president of the German Aviation Association (BDL). Since January 2020, the experienced aviation manager has been the CEO of Munich Airport.

Lammers studied business administration and economics in Bayreuth, Witten-Herdecke, and San Diego. He started his career in aviation in 1998 at HOCHTIEF AirPort GmbH, where he took on various responsibilities at the airport holdings in Düsseldorf and Athens. In the Greek capital, he was involved in commissioning and opening the new airport. From 2008 until his move to Munich, Lammers managed Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport.

Lammers has been an active and valued member of the Board of Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE) since 2017. In June 2019, he was elected to lead the European airports’ trade association and he proceeded to serve two full terms as ACI EUROPE President throughout the most challenging phase of the COVID-19 crisis.

Jost Lammers was born in Oldenburg in 1967.

Yuliia Moravej

Yuliia Moravej

Communications Manager at ACI World
3 articles
Share This