New Frankfurt terminal is growing too fast

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – At first glance, the Corona crisis never seems to have existed in the south of Frankfurt Airport. 40 Cranes rotate over the construction site of what is currently the largest privately financed infrastructure project in Europe.

The operator Fraport is building with a Expenditure of 4 billion euros for the third passenger terminal, which in the final stage will hold around 25 million passengers. This corresponds to the number of passengers at Düsseldorf Airport in the year before the crisis 2019. But the first completed buildings are not needed for the time being.

For years, the development of the largest airport in Germany only knew one direction. Not only since the passenger record of 70, 5 million people a year 2019, those responsible wanted to expand the hub with an additional one fourth runway and a third handling complex.

The northwest runway has been in use since 2011, and the new terminal is also in the previously hotly contested planning approval, which, in addition to a night flight ban, also provides for more than 700. 000 aircraft movements per year . With a previous maximum value of good 500. 000 flight movements is the capacity of the turnstile is more limited by passenger handling, while the runway system and air traffic control would allow significantly more air traffic. The initiatives of the opponents of expansion are fighting Terminal 3 accordingly.

But the pandemic has changed a lot in international air traffic. Frankfurt expects a maximum of 25 million passengers in the current year, a number that can easily be handled in the existing buildings even with the most extensive hygiene measures. The pre-corona level will probably only be seen again in the years 2025 / 26, says Fraport boss Stefan Schulte.

Just at this point in time, Terminal 3 is due to go online after several shifts. It has twice the gross floor area of ​​the Frankfurt ECB headquarters and uses as much steel as 15 Paris Eiffel Towers. Work is currently in progress on the 18 meter high steel roof of the main building, which will serve as a landmark next to the 69 meter high tower for the apron pilots. “The shell is 70 to 80 percent complete,” says construction manager Christian Bierend.

This only applies to the main building and the two gates H and J. The second construction phase with gate G, which was brought forward due to pressure from low-cost airlines, could actually go online next year, but there is no need for the time being. The airlines in demand as customers are holding back during the crisis, are planning extremely short-term and are far from flying at pre-crisis levels.

Pier G will be opened in the first half of the year 2022 take over turnkey and put it into “dormant operation”, is the motto at Fraport. The actual commissioning will take place at the latest in spring 2026 together with the rest of the terminal, but can also be brought forward if necessary. However, this would require a lead time of around 10 months to check the processes with extras and to rent out and set up the shops. Fraport does not want to comment on the costs of the dormant operation, but assumes a “low double-digit” head count for the staff required in the Geister Terminal.

There was a lot of criticism in the Rhein-Main- Region also on the traffic connection of the new terminal. There is space there for a separate motorway exit, 000 kilometers of new roads and one of the largest commercial parking garages in Europe with 8500 Parking spaces. There will be no S-Bahn for the time being because it has so far not got beyond the status of a preliminary planning “Skyline-Bahn”, which must be led 5.6 kilometers around the runways.

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