Aeroporti di Roma

Air Service One talks with… Jesper Klausholm, Director Airline Relations, Communications & Marketing, Billund Airport

Air Service One talks with… Jesper Klausholm, Director Airline Relations, Communications & Marketing, Billund Airport

“Lego” is one of the biggest toy brands in the world! But where is the home of “Lego”?

Well, it’s from a town called Billund, located in Jutland, Denmark and with a population of just over 7,000 people it goes to show big things come from small places! Well, the truth is that Billund Airport actually sites within the second largest catchment in Denmark and the fourth largest and most wealthy catchment in Scandinavia.

Billund Airport’s Director of Airline Relations, Communications & Marketing, Jesper Klausholm, has been testament to this with the airport experiencing record traffic growth and a number of new airlines since last year.

Air Service One got to find out the secret to their success what is next on the agenda and how this small airport has become such a big name in the world of air service development!

Many markets in Western Europe are yet to reach their pre-Covid passenger figures. You have already surpassed 2019 levels. How did you manage to achieve this?

 The Danish economy is booming despite the pandemic, inflation and cost increased on power sources. Danes rapidly got vaccinated against COVID and, in general, Danes have had little anxiety against the virus. Our market is very business-traveller intensive – Billund Airport is situated in the middle of where Danish production takes place and more than 50% of all Danish export jobs are located close to BLL. Leisure demand picked up quickly following the introduction of the EU COVID and business traveller demand reached pre-COVD levels during the autumn of 2023. Built on our strong market, our team have focused on route development and tourism growth.

There have been several new routes so far this winter season and a number of new destinations coming up next year. Can you tell us more about them?

 We are delighted that airBaltic and Norwegian has focused their growth strategy on BLL – BT with 2 new routes to LPA and TLL and Norwegian with four new routes during the 2024 summer. BT and DY are not new to BLL. Both airlines have been operating into BLL for more than 10 years. We are delighted that the airlines see their existing routes perform so well that they new will expand their route network.

Are there any particular routes or markets you are targeting for the upcoming period?

 There is still a lot of potential from BLL, both with existing airlines on current routes, as well as on new routes and carriers. European destinations still hold the largest potential from BLL, but we all see potential for nonstop services to Thailand, the Middel East as well as the east coast of the US.

Denmark is becoming a growing tourist attraction. Are you seeing an increase in inbound leisure travel considering your location within the country and how could that influence potential new airline arrivals?

The region that Billund Airport is located in the middle of has a higher growth in international tourism than the overall average in Denmark. West Denmark and the Legoland Billund Resort has a lot to offer to international tourists. This of course benefits our route development and airlines get a more balanced outbound/inbound split on flights. Traditionally, our market has had very strong outbound flows, but on many routes, we have started to see much more balanced flows. This very much links to our strong focus on tourism development, where we try to build strong ties between our regional and local tourism development organisations and our airline community.

 

Athens International Airport

You have a good mix of legacy and low-cost carriers. How do you manage to keep both sides content with charges and costs?

 At Billund Airport, we have a good understanding that cost is king to most airlines. From 2010 until 2024 we have managed to keep airport fees and charges at a constant low and have not enforced cost increases on our airline customers. Still, we have a strong focus on delivering a good and steady airport product to passengers travelling through BLL.

 What are the airport’s goals for 2024 in terms of passenger traffic?

 We are likely to see a year with a bit of consolidation – in 2022 we reached index 100 compared to 2019 – in 2023 we reached index 107. Our focus will be to maintain the traffic levels that we see now and hope to be able to deliver new routes to the market during 2024, which will deliver future growth.  

Air Service Fun

Most remote destination you have travelled to?

Fiji or St. John (US Virgin Islands)

What’s your favourite “hidden gem” within Billund Airport that most travellers might not know about?

The Faeroe Islands, Greenland, or the Danish Island of Bornholm – all with direct flights from BLL and all three destinations are fantastic!

Favourite movie watched in the past year?

Favorite movie of all time “Love Actually” – and the best scene is actually the introduction from the Arrivals area of LHR – the opening monologue is fantastic and reminds me that what we do in our industry is actually ‘connecting people’: “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling love, actually … is all around.”

Favourite aircraft type?

Favorite aircraft is the DC10/MD 11! ….in modern times this has changed to the A220.

Billund, home of Legoland
Billund, home of Legoland

Aeroporti di Roma