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Hamburg plans Helmut Schmidt Airport for 2016

The Local · 18 Dec 2015, 12:26

Published: 18 Dec 2015 12:26 GMT+01:00

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When Helmut Schmidt died at his home in Hamburg on November 10th, Germany mourned the loss of one of its most influential post-war leaders.

But efforts are already under way to commemorate Schmidt - by renaming the city's airport after the former chancellor.

Hamburg will welcome in the newly renamed "Helmut Schmidt Airport" in 2016, reports Focus.

Schmidt's family - along with a board of directors and partners at Hamburg Airport - have already agreed to the renaming, Hamburg's mayor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Norddeutsche Rundfunk.

The oldest airport in operation worldwide, Hamburg Airport - or Flughafen Hamburg - is also Germany's fifth busiest commercial airport.
Opened in 1911, the site has grown significantly during its 104 years of service - and now covers 5.7 square km.
With Christmas fast approaching, the airport is currently preparing for its busiest season. 
Between Friday 18th and Tuesday 22nd December, 812 planes are due to take off from Hamburg's runways, carrying more than 89,000 passengers, reports NDR.

It's not yet certain whether the new official name will use the English term "Airport" or the German "Flughafen."

"It's about Helmut Schmidt, Hamburg and the airport," Scholz said - with everything else yet to be confirmed.

At 96, Schmidt was Germany's oldest former chancellor when he died in November.

As chancellor and leader of the Social Democratic Party between 1974 and 1982, he was respected for his tough stance on terrorism, leading the country through the infamous "German Autumn" when the Red Army Faction, a communist terror cell, wrought havoc in the Bundesrepublik.

An infamous heavy smoker, Schmidt remained in the public eye for the rest of his life - and in 2013 he made headlines over rumours that he had up to 38,000 menthol cigarettes stockpiled in case of an EU ban.

But in September 2015, a blood clot in his right leg saw him rushed to Hamburg's Asklepios Hospital.

Story continues below…

Returning home two weeks later, he became ill once again in early November - and passed away surrounded by family on November 10th.

"He fell asleep peacefully and in a relaxed way," doctor Heiner Greten told Bild shortly afterwards.

"He simply stopped living. He didn't need to suffer any more."

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