To accommodate his company’s increasing internationalization and make it easier for business partners and LEGO Group sales executives to visit Billund, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen takes steps in 1961 to build a private LEGO airfield. By flying its employees around the world in its own aircraft, the LEGO Group would save valuable time not having to fit into the scheduled flights of commercial airlines. Thus, in 1961 the LEGO Group purchases land just north of Billund and begins building a 900 m grass landing strip. Teaming up with a small air operator in southern Jutland the company also buys a half share of a small propeller aircraft.
It doesn’t take long before Godtfred Kirk Christiansen recognize the need for an aircraft wholly owned by the company and in 1962 the LEGO Group purchases its first very own aircraft. In the summer of 1962 the two first LEGO pilots, cousins Hans Erik Christensen and Hans Jørgen Christensen, land the new LEGO aircraft in Billund. This marks the unofficial opening of the airstrip, and the two pilots are received by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen and his wife, Edith. The big, official inauguration takes place on September 10.
Creating an airport
In 1964, the airfield is extended with a 1600 m paved runway and the LEGO Group transfers ownership of the airfield to a new company, Billund Airport A.m.b.A. The new public airport is inaugurated in November 1964. Under the transfer agreement, the LEGO Group undertakes running the airport during the next five years and to subsidize the expansion of the runway system. In return the LEGO Group receives unobstructed right of use of the airport.
Today Billund Airport is the second largest airport in Denmark. The fact that Jutland’s main international airport is located in the small town of Billund is in part thanks to the LEGO Group. Had the company not had a significant need for international travel coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, the original airfield probably would not have been built and there would have been no driving force for opening Billund Airport in 1964.