Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA, ICAO: EDDF) (German: Flughafen Frankfurt am Main, also known as Rhein-Main-Flughafen) is a major international airport located in Frankfurt, the fifth-largest city of Germany and one of the world's leading financial centres. It is operated by Fraport and serves as the main hub for Lufthansa including Lufthansa CityLine and Lufthansa Cargo as well as Condor and AeroLogic. The airport covers an area of 2,300 hectares (5,683 acres) of land and features two passenger terminals with a capacity of approximately 65 million passengers per year, four runways and extensive logistics and maintenance facilities.


Frankfurt Airport is the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany as well as the 4th busiest in Europe after London Heathrow Airport, Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The airport is also the 13th busiest worldwide by total number of passengers in 2016,[5] with 60.786 million passengers using the airport in 2016. It also had a freight throughput of 2.076 million metric tonnes in 2015 and is the busiest airport in Europe by cargo traffic. As of summer 2017, Frankfurt Airport serves 293 destinations, making it the airport with the most direct routes in the world.[6]



The southern side of the airport ground was home to the Rhein-Main Air Base, which was a major air base for the United States from 1947 until 2005, when the air base was closed and the property was acquired by Fraport. In 2016 passengers at the airport fell 0.4% to 60,792,308 down from 61.032 million in 2015. The airport celebrated its 80th anniversary in July 2016.[7]


Frankfurt Airport lies 12 km (7.5 mi) southwest of central Frankfurt,[3] near the Autobahn intersection Frankfurter Kreuz, where two of the most heavily used motorways in Europe (A3 and A5) meet. The airport grounds, which form a city district of Frankfurt named Frankfurt-Flughafen, are surrounded by the Frankfurt City Forest. The southern portion of the airport grounds extend partially into the cities of Rüsselsheim am Main and Mörfelden-Walldorf, and a western portion of the grounds lie within the city of Kelsterbach.


The airport is centrally located in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region, Germany's third-largest metropolitan region, which itself has a central location in the densely populated region of the west-central European megalopolis. Thereby, along with a strong rail and motorway connection, the airport serves as a major transport for the greater region, less than two hours by ground to Cologne, the Ruhr Area, and Stuttgart.




Check-in concourse A in Terminal 1

The new terminal, called Terminal Mitte (Central Terminal, today known as Terminal 1) is divided into three concourses (A, B and C) with 56 gates and an electric baggage handling system. Everything opened to the public on 14 March 1972. It was assumed that the terminal capacity would be sufficient for the next 30 years. Along with the new terminal a railway station (Frankfurt Airport station) was opened, the first airport railway station in the Federal Republic of Germany. A few days later the old Empfangsanlage Ost was closed.


The third runway[edit]

Planning for a third runway (called Startbahn 18 West) began in 1973. This project spawned massive protests by residents and environmentalists. The main points of conflict were increasing noise and pollution and the cutting down of protected trees in the Frankfurt City Forest. While the protests and related lawsuits were unsuccessful in preventing the construction of the runway, the Startbahn West protests were one of the major crystallisation points for the German environmental movement of the 1980s. The protests even continued after the runway had been opened in 1984 and in 1987 two police officers were killed by a gunman. This incident ended the Startbahn West protests for good. Because of its orientation in the north–south direction, in contrast to the other two runways which run east–west, the use of the third runway is limited. The Startbahn West can only be used for takeoffs to the south because otherwise they would interfere with air traffic at the other runways. Due to this restriction the runway must be partially or fully closed when northward winds are too strong.


Terminal 2 and the second railway station[edit]



The apron of Terminal 2

In 1990, work on a new terminal (Terminal 2) began because it was anticipated that Terminal Mitte would reach its capacity limit sooner than expected. The new terminal, divided into concourses D and E, was built to the east of the existing terminal where once the Empfangsanlage Ost had been. With its opening in 1994, Frankfurt Airport increased its terminal capacity to 54 million passengers per year. Along with the terminal opening, a people mover system called Sky Line was established to provide a fast connection between Terminal 2 and Terminal Mitte (now renamed Terminal 1).


In 1999 a second railway station, primarily for InterCityExpress long-distance trains (called Frankfurt Airport long-distance station), opened near Terminal 1 as part of the new Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line. At the same time local and regional rail services were based at the existing underground station, now renamed Frankfurt Airport regional station.



Closure of the Rhein-Main Air Base[edit]

On 30 December 2005, the Rhein-Main Air Base in the southern part of the airport ground was closed and the US Air Force moved to Ramstein Air Base. The property was handed back to Fraport which allows the airport to use it to build a new passenger terminal. The property of the housing area for the soldiers, called Gateway Gardens, which was located north-east of the airport site, was given back to the city of Frankfurt in the same year and will be developed as a business district in the following years.


The Airbus A380 and The Squaire[edit]

From 2005 to 2007 a large Airbus A380 maintenance facility was built at Frankfurt Airport because Lufthansa wanted to station their future A380 aircraft fleet there. Due to economic constraints only half of the facility has been built so far. Both terminals also underwent major renovations in order to handle the A380, including the installation of a third boarding bridge at several gates. Lufthansa's first Airbus A380 went into operation in June 2010 and was named Frankfurt am Main.



Aerial view of the central airport buildings including The Squaire in the back

In 2011 a large office building called The Squaire (a portmanteau of square and air) opened at Frankfurt Airport. It was built on top of the Airport long-distance station and is considered the largest office building in Germany with 140,000 m2 (1,500,000 sq ft) floor area. Main tenants are KPMG and two Hilton Hotels.


Since 2012 the people mover "The Squaire Metro" connects the Squaire with the nine-storey parking structure. On a length of about 300 metres the so-called MiniMetro system with its two cabins can carry up to 1,300 passengers per hour.[8] The constructor of the system was the Italian manufacturer Leitner.



The fourth runway[edit]

Plans to build a fourth runway at Frankfurt Airport had been under-way since 1997 but, due to the violent conflicts with the building of the third runway, Fraport let residents' groups and environmentalists participate in the process to find a mutually acceptable solution. In 2000, a task force presented their conclusion which generally approved a new runway, but in shorter length (only 2.8 kilometres compared to the other three 4-kilometre-long runways) which would serve as a landing-only runway for smaller aircraft. Additional requirements included improved noise protection arrangements and a strict ban on night flights between 11 pm and 5 am across the whole airport. In 2001, Fraport applied for an approval to build a new runway, with three possible variants assessed. This concluded that a runway north-west of the airport site would have the least impact on local residents and the surrounding environment. The plans were approved by the Hessian government in December 2007, but the requested ban on night flights was lifted because it was argued that an international airport like Frankfurt would need night flights, especially for worldwide freight transport. Construction of the new 2,800 m (9,186 ft) long Runway Northwest in the Kelsterbach Forest began in early 2009.



Facilities[edit]

Terminals[edit]
Frankfurt Airport has two large main passenger terminals (1 and 2) and a much smaller dedicated First Class Terminal which is operated and exclusively used by Lufthansa. As is the case at London's Heathrow Airport, terminal operations are grouped for airlines and airline alliances rather than into domestic and international routes.


Terminal 1[edit]



Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is the older and larger one of the two passenger terminals. The landside is 420 metres long. It has been enlarged several times and is divided into concourses A, B, C and Z and has a capacity of approximately 50 million passengers per year. Terminal 1 is functionally divided into three levels, the departures level on the upper floor with check-in counters, the arrivals level with baggage claim areas on the ground floor and, underneath, a distribution floor with access to the regional station and underground and multilevel parking. Departures and arrivals levels each have separate street approaches. A bus station is located at arrivals level. Terminal 1 has a total of 103 gates, which include 54 gates equipped with jetways (25 in Concourse A, 18 in Concourse B, 11 in Concourse C).


Pier A was extended by 500 metres in 2000, and a link between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, as well as the Hall C extension opened in 2008.[15]



On 10 October 2012, an 800-metre-long westward expansion of Terminal 1 called Pier A-Plus went into operation. It provides more stands for wide-body aircraft like the Airbus A380.[16]



Terminal 1 is primarily used by Lufthansa, its associated companies (Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines) and its Star Alliance partners (e.g. Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, All Nippon Airways, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines).



Terminal 2[edit]



Terminal 2

Terminal 2, which has a capacity of 15 million passengers a year, was opened in 1994 and is divided into concourses D and E. A continuous concourse between Terminal 1C and 2D provides direct, but non-public access between the two terminals. It has eight gates with jetways and 34 apron stands, a total of 42 gates and is able to handle wide-body aircraft such as Korean Air's Airbus A380s.


Terminal 2 is primarily used by airlines of the oneworld (e.g. American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines) and SkyTeam alliances (e.g. Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Saudia, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines).



Passengers and visitors can change terminals with the people mover system SkyLine which has stops at Terminal 1 AZ (passengers only), Terminal 1 BC and Terminal 2 DE. The travel time between the terminals is 2 minutes with trains arriving every 2–3 minutes during the day. Additionally there is regular bus service between the terminals.



Lufthansa First Class Terminal[edit]



Lufthansa First Class Terminal

Lufthansa operates a small dedicated First Class Terminal near Terminal 1 with exclusive access for Lufthansa first class passengers and HON Circle frequent flyer members only. Other first class passengers must use the dedicated first class lounges within the main terminals. The facility has 200 staff and is used by about 300 passengers daily. It provides individualised security screening and customs facilities. Amenities include valet parking, a white-linen restaurant, lounge and office areas, a cigar room and bubble baths. Passengers are transported directly from the terminal to the plane by luxury car.


Runways[edit]

Frankfurt Airport has four runways of which three are arranged parallel in east–west direction and one in north–south direction. In 2010 three runways (Runways North, South and West) handled 464,432 aircraft movements, which equated to 83 movements per hour. With the start of operation of the Northwest Runway in October 2011 the airport was predicted to be able to handle 126 movements per hour. It is predicted that aircraft movements will increase up to 700,000 in the year 2020. By using the fourth runway, Frankfurt Airport is able for the first time to handle simultaneous parallel landings, because the distance between the north and the north-west runways is 1,400 m (4,593 ft). Simultaneous parallel landings were not possible with the north and south runway pairing, because the separation distance did not meet the safety standard prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization.



Airlines and destinations[edit]

106 airlines fly to 275 destinations in 111 countries from Frankfurt Airport, with approximately 1,365 flights per day. Lufthansa and their Star Alliance partners account for 77% of all passengers at Frankfurt Airport.[19] 65% of all intercontinental flights in Germany are operated at Frankfurt Airport, followed by Munich Airport with 17%.[19]


Due to capacity constraints until autumn 2011 when the fourth runway went into operation, there are still comparably few low-cost carriers operating at Frankfurt Airport. Some of these airlines use Frankfurt–Hahn Airport as an alternative while Ryanair and Wizzair meanwhile announced to start operations at the actual Frankfurt Airport as well. Despite its name, Frankfurt–Hahn Airport is located about 120 km (75 mi) west of Frankfurt, closer to Koblenz and Mainz.


Ground transport[edit]
Frankfurt Airport can easily be accessed by car, taxi, train or bus as it features an extensive transport network. There are two railway stations at the airport: one for suburban/regional trains and one for long-distance trains.


Rail[edit]

Regional station[edit]


S-Bahn at the regional station

Main article: Frankfurt Airport regional station
Frankfurt Airport regional station (Frankfurt Flughafen Regionalbahnhof) at Terminal 1, concourse B, provides access to the S-Bahn commuter rail lines S8 and S9. Each of these lines have trains departing every 15 minutes during daytime to Hanau Central Station eastwards via Frankfurt Central Station and Offenbach East Station or Wiesbaden Central Station westwards via Rüsselsheim or Mainz Central Station (line S8) or Mainz-Kastel Station (line S9).


The journey time to Frankfurt Central Station is 10–12 minutes.[68]



Regional Express (RE) trains to Saarbrücken, Koblenz or Würzburg call at this station. These trains provide less frequent but additional connections between Frankfurt Airport and the Central Station.[68]



Long-distance station[edit]



Platforms at the long-distance station

Main article: Frankfurt Airport long-distance station
Frankfurt Airport long-distance station (Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof) was opened in 1999. The station is squeezed in between the motorway A 3 and the four-lane Bundesstraße B43, linked to Terminal 1 by a connecting corridor for pedestrians that bridges the Autobahn. It is the end point of the newly built Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line, which links southern Germany to the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, the Netherlands and Belgium via Cologne at speeds up to 300 km/h (190 mph). About 10 trains per hour depart in all directions.[68]


Deutsche Bahn operates the AIRail Service in conjunction with Lufthansa, American Airlines and Emirates. The service operates to the central stations of Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Leipzig, Hamburg, Hannover, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and to Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe.[69]