Denmark’s First Professor in Aviation at Aalborg University

Denmark’s First Professor in Aviation at Aalborg University

Aalborg University appoints Denmark's – probably all of Europe’s – first professor in aviation. He will help to increase focus on the aviation industry which, despite an explosively developing market and numerous societal dilemmas, is an overlooked area of research

An overlooked area of research. Straightforward talk from Claus Lassen, Associate Professor at Aalborg University, when it comes to the aviation industry. He and Aalborg University (AAU) are now remedying this by appointing an adjunct professor who is also Chief Traffic Forecaster at Copenhagen Airport (CPH).

Thomas Thessen, economist and newly appointed professor, will now be part of the effort to gather important knowledge on an area of rapid development.

Important aviation market

– The aviation industry today is an infinitesimal proportion of the total research grants and thus of research overall. This is surprising when you look at the many societal issues related to mode of transport, says Claus Lassen.

He points to the fact that there is far more focus on, for example, car traffic where there’s a lot of work on determining the best infrastructure, increasing traffic safety, etc.

– There are many areas to delve into in the field of aviation. For instance, there are the issues of accessibility to the business global community and the regulatory conditions for aircraft and airports, just to mention a few. There is also the whole issue of traveler behavior which can provide useful knowledge in relation to attracting tourists to Denmark and ensuring optimal conditions for the ability of Danish business travelers to make money internationally, he said.

The appointment of Thomas Thessen, 51, provides researchers with entirely different access to and insight into aviation data as well as the opportunity to examine various issues in terms of their timeliness and relevance in general.

Long-standing partnership

Copenhagen Airport and Thomas Thessen have long partnered with AAU through the university's Center for Urban Studies.

The airport's managing director, Thomas Woldbye, sees it as an important recognition that Aalborg University, the first academic institution to do so, is taking aviation and its importance to society seriously.

– We are very satisfied with our collaboration with Aalborg University. It is important for aviation that issues such as how local and international mobility and accessibility are linked to growth, jobs and cultural exchange are the focus of research. In short, how crucial good flight connections are for a small trading nation like Denmark. So the airport of course is proud to now have an adjunct professor on staff, says Thomas Woldbye.

From AAU’s perspective, the appointment is seen as the first step in a strategic effort to develop more aviation research at the university. We are looking forward to the closer partnership.

– With his background from Statistics Denmark, VisitDenmark and Copenhagen Airport, Thomas is a highly skilled professional who has distinguished himself on the international stage. It was thus a natural step to formalize our partnership even further. The hope is that in the future the aviation industry will take a more research-oriented approach and engage in even more evidence-based research, says Claus Lassen.

As an adjunct professor at AAU, Thomas Thessen will have various functions, including serving as chair of an Aeromobilities Academy. The academy, which is the first of its kind in Denmark, will bridge the gap between aviation research and the aviation industry in Denmark.


Claus Lassen, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Tel. + 45 99 40 72 07,

Nelly Sander, Press Contact, AAU, Tel.: +45 99 40 20 18,

Lars Lemche, Press Contract CPH, + 45 26 14 01 14,