Extremely convenient airport situated between West Germany's old capital and Cologne
This Airport's roots go back to 1938, when the German airforce build an airfield in Wahn, a remote southern suburb of Cologne, halfway to Bonn. The Royal Airforce confiscated and extended the airfield after WW II to build up a defensegrid against the communist threat from the east. Fortunately they were interested in trips abroad as well, because in 1950 the british civil aviation authority for Germany licensed the cities of Cologne and Bonn to share the airfield with the military to use it as a civil airport. In 1951 BEA (British European Airways) was the first Airline to use the new airport on it's service London, Cologne/Bonn, Berlin and in 1953 the first passenger jetplane, the DeHavilland Comet 1 touches down for the first time delivering the jet age to the Rhineland.
By 1957 already 300.000 passengers per year fly from completely inadequate buildings , so a new terminal is built: Terminal 1, opened for the public in 1969, is a horseshoe shaped monstrosity in concrete, that, although incredibly ugly from both in- and outside, is very conveniently attached to it's own piece of Autobahn and is only 15 minutes from both Bonn and Cologne.
As the official airport for state - visits before the capital was moved to Berlin, CGN (the airport's IATA code) saw it's fair share of weird and wonderful planes, president and kings. In 1983 a modified 747 lands with a high ranking NASA delegation and the Space Shuttle on its back: 300.000 people are watching, dispersed around the airfield.
By 1990 the airport looks after 2 million passengers yearly, and plans for a new terminal are being made: Terminal 2, an architectural masterpiece of glass and steel (looking positively weightless next to the old terminal building) reminiscent of the american airports of the sixties extends the capacity of the airport significantly. By 2003 the first no frills airlines take off from Cologne: Hapag-Lloyd Express and Germanwings, later followed by Germania Express, Air Berlin and Duo.
These days 5.5 million passengers are flying mainly to European, but also to some intercontinental destinations, served by 47 airlines. Both TNT and UPS use Cologne as their European hub, and the airport is now connected to the german InterCity Express network as well as having a shuttle train connection to the main train station in Cologne. 3 runways (one 3800 meters long, enough for a fully fueled and loaded C5 Galaxy) make flight handling a doddle. Not only adding infrastructure to the region, it provides much needed 10.500 jobs , making it one of the main employers in the region.
With airtravel booming exponentially, its perfect location and its excellent transport connecions, the future looks good for CGN.