Luxembourg Findel Airport
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Aéroport de Luxembourg
|Operator||Luxembourg Airport Authority|
|Serves||Luxembourg City, Luxembourg|
|Elevation AMSL||1,234 ft / 376 m|
Luxembourg Findel Airport (IATA: LUX, ICAO: ELLX) is the main airport in Luxembourg. It is Luxembourg's only international airport and is the only airport in the country with a paved runway. It is located 3.25 NM (6.02 km; 3.74 mi) away from Luxembourg City. The airport is completely international as there are no other commercial airports in the country. In 2013 it handled 2,197,497 passengers. By cargo tonnage, Findel ranked as Europe's 5th busiest and the world's 28th busiest in 2010.
The airport was originally known as "Sandweiler Airport", and was opened in the 1930s as a small grass airfield with a relatively short, 3400' (1000m) runway.
German use during World War II
Neutral Luxembourg was invaded by Germany on 10 May 1940, and on 21 May the Luftwaffe assigned Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53), a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter unit, to the airport. JG 53 was engaged in combat against the French and British Expeditionary Force in France during the Battle of France in May and June. In addition, Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) operated Bf 109s from Sandweiler during the Blitzkrieg. JG 52 moved into France on 29 May but JG 53 remained in Luxembourg until 18 August when it moved closer to the English Channel to take part in the Battle of Britain.
Sandweiler Airport then remained unused by the Luftwaffe until September 1944, when Aufklärungsgruppe 123 (AKG 123), a reconnaissance unit which flew the Henschel Hs 126, a two-seat reconnaissance and observation aircraft, was assigned to the airport. AKG 123 moved east into Germany after only a few days when the United States Army moved through Luxembourg and cleared the country of the occupying German forces.
United States Army combat engineers arrived at Sandweiler in mid September 1944 and performed some minor reconstruction to prepare the airfield for Ninth Air Force combat aircraft. The airfield was designated as Advanced Landing Ground "A-97" Sandweiler and was opened on 18 September. The Ninth Air Force 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group operated a variety of photo-reconnaissance aircraft until 29 October 1944 when they also moved east into Germany.
Sandweiler Airport was used by the Americans for the rest of the war as a transport supply airfield and also to evacuate combat casualties to England. It was returned to Luxembourgish control on 15 August 1945.
Luxembourg Airport has constructed a high-security zone far away from most airport activities in order to attract the business of transporting valuable goods such as art and jewels. According to Hiscox, there is a "massive demand" for such a hub for precious cargo. Planes taxi away from main airport facilities before loading.
Construction of the new Terminal A started in 2005 and it was inaugurated in May 2008.
Former Terminal A
Built in 1975, the building was the only terminal of the airport for 30 years, until terminal B opened in 2004. The terminal was getting overcrowded especially during the summer period, and only contained two or three shops. The terminal started to be demolished at the end of 2011 and was complete by March 2012, this was in order to make way for a footbridge connecting terminal B to the new terminal A.
Terminal B opened in 2004, the building is unique as it only has gates and no check-in counters or arrivals hall. It was built for small planes with a maximum capacity of 50 people. It can handle up to 600,000 passengers a year.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Luxembourg Findel Airport:
Incidents and accidents
- On 22 December 1969, Vickers Viscount LX-LGC of Luxair was damaged beyond economic repair when it ran off the runway and the nose wheel collapsed.
- On 29 September 1982, An Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-62M passenger plane suffered a runway excursion on landing at Luxembourg Findel Airport.
- On 6 November 2002, Luxair Flight 9642, Fokker 50 (registration LX-LGB) was incoming from Berlin, Germany, and crashed in a field near the village of Niederanven during its final approach to Luxembourg Findel Airport. 20 passengers and crew lost their lives, including artist Michel Majerus.
- On 21 January 2010, Cargolux 7933, operated by Boeing 747-400 LX-OCV struck a vehicle on landing. The van suffered major damage and the aircraft sustained a damaged tyre.
- World's busiest airports by cargo traffic
- Advanced Landing Ground
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Media related to Luxembourg-Findel International Airport at Wikimedia Commons