Frankfurt Airport Third Terminal Wins Planning Clearance

Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s third-busiest, won local planning permission to build a third terminal that will offer capacity to boost passenger handling by about 24 percent.

The first construction phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, when the terminal will initially be able to handle 14 million passengers a year, airport operating company Fraport AG said in a statement today. The building, to be located on the south side of the airport opposite the two existing terminals, will offer 50 spots for servicing aircraft once all work is completed.

Construction technology will be modular “to enable possible further expansion in the future,” said Dieter Hulick, a spokesman at Frankfurt-based Fraport. A contractor has yet to be chosen, he said.

A fourth runway, which just handles landings, opened in October 2011, increasing Frankfurt’s capacity to 700,000 flights a year from about 500,000. Fraport estimated at the time that the airport’s passenger numbers may rise to 88 million by 2025. That compares with the 58 million people who flew through Frankfurt last year.

The current two terminals will exceed capacity by 2020, Fraport said today. The company reiterated a forecast that Frankfurt Airport passenger numbers this year will increase 2 percent to 3 percent. July traffic rose 2.3 percent to 5.86 million people.

Fraport has wanted to build the third terminal since the company held an initial public offering in mid-2001. The operating company, which is currently controlled by the city of Frankfurt and the German state of Hesse, has struggled with lawsuits from area residents seeking to limit the airport’s expansion.

The fourth runway project proceeded following the imposition of a ban on night flights, which is currently in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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