Discover History

Alter Flughafen

On a sunny autumn day, a new chapter in Chemnitz aviation began. Tens of thousands of people flocked here from Chemnitz on 14 September 1924 to take part in breath-taking flight activities for the “Flugplatzwerbetag”, or airfield promotional day. The striking terminal building was officially opened shortly thereafter, on 2 May 1926, and the first scheduled aircraft landed the next day. The airport quickly became a popular and important meeting point for travellers, as well as a major hub for the regional economy. The world’s largest passenger aircraft at that time, the Junkers G.38, pulled in the crowds when it visited the airport, while the legendary airship LZ 127 “Graf Zeppelin” was also a huge visitor magnet on its stopover here on 16 November 1930. More than 100,000 Chemnitz residents and their guests cheered the arrival of the large airship. For many, the cessation of air traffic on 25 July 1937 was therefore all the more incomprehensible. The planes had become too big; some even sank into the airfield as they taxied.

The airport survived the war without damage, but the aircraft hangar was transported to the Soviet Union as reparations. “Deutsche Lufthansa der DDR” (East German Lufthansa) reopened scheduled services on 1 May 1958. Just two years later, some 21,000 passengers were using the airport, making an immediate expansion necessary. But the lack of space to extend the runways was an insurmountable problem. On 31 October 1962, scheduled flight operations were again discontinued, this time for good. After lengthy discussions between airport supporters and proponents of housing, the Council of Ministers of the GDR decided on 30 October 1969 to terminate the agreement. The last major aviation event was the 9th East German parachuting championships on 29 and 30 June 1974. By this time, construction work for the future residential area known as Fritz Heckert was already in full swing.

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