Fraport AG, the operator of Frankfurt airport, said it will build a third terminal at a cost of as much as 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in a bid to remain competitive against other European hubs.
Terminal 3 will add capacity for 14 million more passengers a year when it opens in the first half of 2022. The airport can currently handle 64 million, which will be overtaken by demand for 68 million to 73 million by 2021, Fraport said.
“We are already late in realizing the third terminal, we would need it in 2020 rather than in 2022,” Chief Executive Officer Stefan Schulte said at a press conference at the airport today. “We must remain competitive against state-of-the-art terminals in London, Paris, and Barcelona.”
The building in the southern part of the airport will cost almost 2 billion euros, and the price for connecting it to local rail systems is another 500 million euros, Chief Financial Officer Matthias Zieschang said. Costs to build highways may bring the total to as much as 3 billion euros, he said. Fraport previously said the terminal would open in 2021.
Fraport shares rose 3.1 percent to 58.13 euros at 3:22 p.m. in Frankfurt, taking the advance to 21 percent this year.
The airport may soon lose its place as Europe’s third-largest hub. In 2014, travelers through Frankfurt rose 2.6 percent to 59.6 million, while numbers at second-placed Paris Charles de Gaulle climbed 2.8 percent to 63.8 million. Istanbul airport saw an 11 percent surge to 57 million, fueled by expansion of Turkish Airlines, taking it past Madrid and Schiphol, with a growth rate that suggests it may take third place, or even second, in 2015.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Fraport’s biggest customer, has capped its fleet at 400 aircraft compared with earlier plans to increase it to 480, and is shifting some long-haul operations to Cologne airport to save costs.
Two alternatives to Terminal 3 suggested by the local state government will continue to be evaluated but wouldn’t add enough capacity for projected passenger growth or the additional space needed by larger planes such as Airbus A380s, Schulte said.