The front of the terminals of Knuffingen Airport with parking lots, parking garage and numerous cars on the streets.

© Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

Knuffingen Airport: Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg is home to the largest model airport in the world. Here, the fictitious town of Knuffingen presents its mini airport with replicas of giant aircraft on a scale of 1:87. The aircraft are by no means stationary, because like almost everything in Miniatur Wunderland, they move. They follow a regular daily routine, which makes everyday airport life as well as departures and landings at the miniature airport in Knuffingen beautiful and realistic. Thus, several hundred planes leave the runways of the Knuffingen model airport every day. Find out everything about Knuffingen Airport here.


  1. Knuffingen Airport at a Glance

  2. Knuffingen Airport – Facts & Figures

  3. How Do Planes Take off and Land at Knuffingen Airport?

  4. Special Aircraft at Knuffingen Airport

  5. World Records of Knuffingen Airport

  6. Sights in Knuffingen

Knuffingen Airport at a Glance

The realization of the airport in Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg required 4 million euros and a 6-year construction phase. But on May 4, 2011, the mini airport between Knuffingen and Switzerland could finally be opened. With an area of 150 m², Knuffingen Airport is thus not only the largest airport in the Wunderland, but also the smallest airport in the world.

Knuffingen Airport – Facts & Figures

  • Cost: €4 million

  • Opening: May 4, 2011

  • Construction phase: June 2005 to May 2011

  • Construction time required: 150,000 hours

  • Aircraft: 52 aircraft

  • Flights: approx. 250 per day

  • Vehicles: 90

  • Minatures: 15,000

  • LEDs: 40,000 (of which approx. 2,500 in the runway)

  • Program code: over 50,000 lines

By the way: Knuffingen Airport handles around 30 million miniature passengers a year, which is about a quarter of Atlanta's annual passengers – the largest airport in the world. Passengers get to the airport via the airport train station, which receives commuter and long-distance trains.

The tower of Knuffingen Airport at night, with a Lufthansa plane taking off in the background and two other planes heading to the tarmac.© Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

How Do Planes Take off and Land at Knuffingen Airport?

What is really fascinating about Knuffingen Airport is the staging of the planes, which actually take off and land in a regulated manner - by day and by night. For this purpose, the planes have their own propulsion system that allows them to move independently on the tarmac. This can be controlled with the aid of a car system.

For the take-off and landing of the planes of the Miniatur Wunderland Airport, a special take-off device was developed, which is also called "the catapult" in reference to the take-off device of real aircraft carriers. This works as follows:

  1. Each aircraft comes to a standstill at a specified point before takeoff.

  2. It is "impaled" there by two rods of the launching device.

  3. The rods are each attached to a carriage, which then pulls the aircraft.

  4. By individually controlling the two rods, the nose of the plane takes off first, just like in real life.

  5. The plane then flies through a wall of clouds made of fabric.

  6. On landing, the process reverses and the planes each land again at a fixed point, from where they continue on their own again.

Thus, for takeoff and landing, the planes at Knuffingen Airport use an underground obstructed line. The movements of the carriage and the two rods are different for each individual aircraft, since, for example, a small aircraft takes off differently than a large one. In addition, the takeoff of each aircraft is accompanied by authentic turbine sounds.

By the way: the automation must always work perfectly, because even at Knuffingen airport everything is done to prevent unwanted flight delays.

Several airplanes are parked with docked gangways at the gates, in the foreground a Lufthansa plane is taking off, in the background are the terminals.© Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg

Special Aircraft at Knuffingen Airport

Not only is the airport itself unique, but the high-caliber aircraft in the original liveries of current and former airlines are impressive. In addition, some of the Knuffingen Airport aircraft or flying objects are truly out of this world.

  1. Airbus A380
    The world-famous passenger aircraft is also a real feast for the eyes in 1:87 scale. But probably the Airbus A380 is not even the most famous aircraft on this list.

  2. Bee Bummel
    Bummel the bee can't carry many passengers, but in return they get a unique experience, because Bummel has no cockpit, passenger compartment or the like. So this bee regularly takes off from Knuffingen Airport.

  3. Concorde Aérospatiale
    The Concorde, as it is usually just called, has a lowered nose and a particularly narrow body shape. For this aircraft, designed by France and Britain, was the second supersonic passenger aircraft in general aviation.

  4. Millennium Falcon YT-1300
    An absolute highlight for all Star Wars fans is Han Solo's spaceship: the Millenium Falcon. Fortunately, it does not fly through space at superluminal speed, so it is visible to all visitors. 

  5. Rockwell Space Shuttle
    The model of NASA's Space Shuttle is also a world-famous flying object and also operates at Knuffingen Airport.

Tip: To facilitate planespotting of these special aircraft, there is even a display board with the departure and arrival times of the planes.

World Records of Knuffingen Airport

Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg holds a number of records, including the world record for the longest model railroad in the world with more than 15 km of track. But Knuffingen Aiport can also boast a world record, as it is the largest model airport in the world.

But that's not all, the runway of the airport in Knuffingen is also unique in the world. This is because to ensure that the wide slot for the bars of the take-off device is not permanently visible, there are the so-called "slot closers", which open shortly before take-off and close again shortly after landing. This gives Knuffingen Airport the only self-repairing runway in the world!

Sights in Knuffingen

The town of Knuffingen is one of the largest and oldest in Miniatur Wunderland. It is located between the Harz Mountains and the Alps and is home to around 10,000 figures. Worth seeing in the town is the pioneering Carsystem, which originated in Knuffingen and whose technology was installed from there across the expanses of Wunderland. It moves over 100 cars in the innovation stronghold.

High up on the mountain stands the landmark of the town of Knuffingen: Löwenstein Castle. The imposing building dates back to the Neo-Renaissance period, while the gardens in front of the castle are inspired by the Baroque era.

A rather unpleasant truth about Knuffingen is that it is haunted by a fire devil, so every 15 minutes a fire breaks out in the town. This also tends to occur in Löwenstein Castle. What is worth seeing here is how quickly the fire department of Knuffingen reacts with its more than 30 fire engines and brings the fire under control.