Duty Free Shop and airside bar open despite Covid-19
Free 12h parking in short walking distance
Too small network of direct connections
Most facilities closed during my visit (due to low flight volume / Covid-19)
Even though I had to delay my flight from there for medical reasons, I was really excited to have my first scheduled flight from Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) in late April 2021. The small regional airport East of the Ruhrgebiet region had undergone a tough time – Covid-19 even forced it to go to insolvency temporarily. The more I was interested how flying from there will be, tested during a day trip with Green Airlines to Sylt Airport (GWT). The flight has been operated by PAD Aviation in their Embraer Phenom 300 planes.
Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) – Location
Paderborn / Lippstadt Airport is located right North of the A44 motorway between Dortmund and Kassel. It is about 18 kms South of Paderborn and 30 kms East of Lippstadt. For the Ruhrgebiet area, the largest concentration of population in Germany, the airport is a bit remote and other options are just better located.
Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) – Transport & Parking
If you are not arriving by car, the traffic situation of the airport is poor. The most straightforward connection is Paderborn Main Station, which is also connected to some long-distance rail services. There are buses operating from there to the airport, but if you have early morning or weekend flights, you might not get a service and have to catch a taxi. The taxi ride is some 40 Euro. The closest (regional) train station from the airport is Salzkotten, which is a 25 Euro taxi ride away from the airport.
Parking prices, especially for short-term parking, is very moderate though. The one day parking fee for the garage paragon, which is close to the terminal, is 12.50 Euro only. There is another parking garage called Bremer, which was just seven Euro per day at the time of writing. Open air parking, not too far away from the airport, can be as low as 4.50 EUR / day.
Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) – Destinations
Paderborn / Lippstadt used to have a couple of European and Mediterranean connections, majorly holiday flights. Typical destinations are Palma (PMI) or other airports in Greece, Spain and Turkey. In addition, Lufthansa connected the airport to Munich Airport twice a day. At the time of exploring the airport, the Green Airlines connection to Sylt has in fact been the only connection the airport had the whole day.
Arriving at Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD)
The arrivals and luggage claim are is in line with the whole airport concept: compact, straight, well organized. You don’t need too many facilities in a regional airport. I liked the all-glass building which had a lot of daylight.
Departing from Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD)
The terminal at Paderborn / Lippstadt is compact, landside as well as airside. The landside area (i.e. before security) is actually quite nice. The upper level features some travel agencies and airline / air service offices. There are some eat facilities in the center of the terminal (which have all been closed in May 2021), the check-in desks are at the very right of the terminal. I really liked that they had plastic curtains between all waiting queues – a really nice Covid-19 concept, which applied for the queues at the check-in area as well as for the waiting queue for security.
My flight was the only one departing that day (and in the whole schedule of the airport, operating twice weekly). Especially as the Phenom 300 only holds nine passengers, I was really impressed that after security (which has of course been very efficient) they ran the whole Duty Free shop and you could even have coffee from a bar. If you for example see my recent story about Cologne/Bonn during Covid-19, the duty free / travel value store there is completely closed down – despite a significantly higher flight volumes.
The gate area was not too special, but absolutely fine. I liked that some gates even had workdesk facilities.
The airport even operates a small business lounge, for which eligible custumers receive the door code (there is no permanent service staff in the lounge. A small, but really impressive service of the airport to business customers. I did have some WiFi trouble in parts of the airport, though – especially around the gate my flight has been departing.
Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) – Services
In general, Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) is covered b all major rental car companies. I guess that the service has been either terminated or serviced by not-that-close stations around. Right across the airport connection road, there is also an airport hotel, which looked closed due to the low travel volume. The airport also hosts a quite well-known aviation museum, the Quax, which is located in the Northern parts of the airport grounds.
Paderborn / Lippstadt (PAD) – My View
Of course, there is a valid discussion whether it makes sense to run a regional airport like Paderborn / Lippstadt Airport (PAD) on that low capacities. Apart from that, the airport comes with all advantages of a regional hub: friendly, efficient services, short routes and a high acceptance by local services. The downside: the network of connections is just very small. The Lufthansa connections via Munich are key for the travel hub. Green Airlines and their ambitioned ideas to upgrade their travel services could be another important factor.