New runway construction underway at Frankfurt
Fraport AG’s €4 billion Airport Expansion Programme (AEP) is focused on two key elements: building a new Northwest runway and Terminal 3, as well as associated taxiways and other ancillary infrastructure projects.
The new bi-directional landing runway is expected to open in time for the airport’s 2011 winter timetable and will enable ILS Category IIIb approaches and landings.
Runway construction work is currently underway following tree clearance at the 220-hectare site earlier this year.
The decision to build a new landing runway has been driven by a need for additional landing capacity, explained Robert Payne, Fraport’s manager, international press and PR.
Currently, Fraport has three 4,000m long runways. The parallel North and South runways are used for takeoffs and landings and Runway 18 west is for takeoffs only. “We now have the capacity for around 83 coordinated movements per hour. For a number of years Frankfurt has been operating at capacity and has had to turn away airline business. The new runway will give us a 50 percent jump in total runway capacity, allowing us to handle more than 120 coordinated movements per hour,” explained Payne.
Future route development
The current economic slowdown has impacted on traffic, but nevertheless served in the interests of the airport, as current capacity constraints have served to further improve flight punctuality, he added.
The centreline separation from the existing North runway will be around 1,400m, enabling the North and Northwest runways to be used simultaneously. “This has not been possible with our existing parallel North and South runways, because they are not far enough apart,” said Payne.
Runway Northwest will be important for Frankfurt’s future route development and there is particular emphasis on growing Frankfurt’s existing markets in China and India. “The new runway is vital for securing and strengthening our position as a major hub to compete in the premier league of global airports. A 50% jump in total runway capacity will give our airline customers planning security and offer them opportunities to grow at Europe’s biggest transfer hub,” Payne added.
In 2012, a new Pier A-plus will also be opened at Terminal 1, providing additional capacity for six million passengers per year before the new Terminal 3 is opened in 2013. “Terminal 3 will feature a modular design so we can construct in phases depending on market growth and demand,” said Payne.