|Frankfurt Airport |
Frankfurt Airport is situated some nine kilometres south-west of Frankfurt am Main in a large wooded area between the localities of Kelsterbach, Raunheim, Mörfelden-Walldorf and Zeppelinheim (Neu-Isenburg). With an area of some 20 km², the boundaries of Frankfurt Airport enclose a site larger than for example the neighbouring town of Hattersheim.
History of the Airport
The operating company, which was partly privatized and renamed Fraport AG in 2001, has carried out numerous building expansions. Today the map shows two terminals to the north of the airport. Terminal 1, opened in 1972, mainly houses Lufthansa together with the other airlines associated with it in the global StarAlliance cooperation. To the north-east of the airport is Terminal 2, which was brought into use in 1994 and is designed for a peak capacity of 10 million passengers per year. Clearly recognizable are the airport"s three runways, two in the west-east direction built in the 1940s, and the so-called "Startbahn West", which was brought into service in 1985 after massive protests by citizen"s groups.
The southern part of the airport was handed over to Fraport by the US armed forces in 2005 and today houses "CargoCity Süd", a commercial zone especially for freight forwarders, as well as further areas that are available for future expansion.
The Airport as Traffic Hub
Measured in terms of passenger and freight volume, Frankfurt Airport is one of the largest airports in the world. In European comparison it is in third place with 53 million passengers, and in second place for freight transport (2 million tons). In 2006 a total of 304 destinations in 112 countries were served by 129 airlines. The hub function is of special importance to Lufthansa AG, which uses Frankfurt Airport as its hub for intercontinental passenger and freight traffic. Thus for example, passengers from airports within Europe fly in short- and medium-range aircraft to Frankfurt, where they transfer into long-range aircraft to continue on to their intercontinental destinations.
The map also clearly shows the airport"s favourable geographical location in terms of transport. The A5 (Hamburg-Basel) north-south motorway connection, and the A3 north-west to south-east motorway connection which links the Ruhr Area to the Munich region, cross at the "Frankfurter Kreuz" junction. Other motorways and feeder roads link the airport directly to all cities in the Rhine-Main area. There is direct motorway access at the north and south-east of the airport. Some 14,500 car parking spaces are available at the airport in multi-story car parks and underground garages, but with the highest charges in the whole of Germany.
The favourable geographical location also applies to railway traffic. Since the opening of the new long-distance station in May 1999, Frankfurt has been the first German airport that is directly accessible by high-speed ICE trains. With some 20,000 passengers per day it is the largest airport station in Germany. Under the slogan "im Zug zum Flug" (rough translation: "By train to the flight?), the airport station creates perspectives for better connections between the various transport systems. Thus for example, at the main railway stations in Cologne and Stuttgart, passengers can check-in directly and hand in their baggage for their entire journey.
The regional railway station, which was opened in 1972, mainly serves suburban and regional trains and links the airport very quickly not only with Frankfurt"s inner city but also with the other cities of the Rhine-Main region. The rail connection to the south of the airport is currently not in operation.
For transfers between the terminals, automatic trains have been available since 1994 on the elevated Sky Line railway which ensures that the guaranteed transfer time of 45 minutes can be adhered to.
Fuel supplies are delivered to the airport by ship and pipeline. The supply takes place on the one hand via the port of Kelsterbach am Main and a pipeline to the airport (see map), and through the NATO pipeline and the Rhine-Main pipeline from Rotterdam.
Airport and Economy
In 2006 some 70,000 employees worked at Frankfurt Airport in more than 500 different companies. Thus it is Germany"s largest local workplace. The largest employer is Deutsche Lufthansa AG with 35,000 employees, followed by the airport operator Fraport AG with 12,700 employees (2006).
Deutsche Lufthansa AG has its headquarters at the north of the airport, and the adjoining terminals and office buildings mainly contain the offices of the airlines and the airport operator Fraport. Catering companies, the customs, and other services also use the buildings. Added to these are hotels and the Airport Conference Center, which points out the airport"s importance as a congress centre.
More than 200 companies with some 5,000 employees are based at the southern part of the airport, Cargo City Süd. Since the US armed forces handed over part of their airbase to the airport operator Fraport in 1995, mainly airfreight forwarders and other airfreight-related service businesses have settled here.
Airport and Environment
The discussion about the expansion of the airport has pointed to an important problem with air traffic: there is no such thing as environment-friendly air travel. Thus its economic importance stands in conflict with many environmental problems. Aircraft, which link the continents together, also create noise and dirt, and need space. The western part of the extensive Frankfurt urban woodland and areas of the Groß-Gerau district have been consumed by the airport. Although the engines of most aircraft have become quieter, and approach corridors have been laid through less populated areas, the high level of air traffic is a major burden on the inhabitants of this heavily-populated zone of the Rhine-Main area. The neighbouring population justifiably fears that the expansion will cause a further impairment of their quality of life.
C. Neiberger; Ü: John Attfield
Keywords: air transport airport bar chart Germany Hesse logistics noise pollution Rhine-Main region service industry centre services tertiary sector transport transport route
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