Frankfurt am Main Airport is a major international airport in Germany, located 12 km southwest of the Frankfurt.
It is by far the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany, the third busiest in Europe and the ninth busiest worldwide in 2009. It serves the most international destinations in the world and is the second busiest airport in Europe by cargo traffic. The southern side of the airport, Rhein-Main Air Base, was a major airlift base for the United States from 1947 until late 2005, when it was acquired by Fraport AG.
The airport is directly located in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region, Germany's second largest metropolitan region, which itself has a central location in the densely populated region of the west-central European megalopolis. Thereby, along with a strong rail and motorway connection, the airport serves as a major transportation hub to the greater region, less than two hours by ground to Cologne, the Ruhr Area, and Stuttgart.
Plans are underway to expand Frankfurt Airport with a fourth runway and a new Terminal 3. First modifications to the airport to make it Airbus A380 compatible are completed, including the first building of a large A380 maintenance facility near the former U.S. Air Base. Work on the fourth runway has been delayed several times due to environmental concerns, but received zoning approval in December 2007. The runway should go into operation in 2011.
Frankfurt is a hub of Lufthansa, the German national carrier. Lufthansa's secondary hub is Munich Airport where many key medium and long haul routes are available, lessening the need to overburden Frankfurt Airport.
History of Frankfurt Airport
The Rhein-Main Airport and Airship Base opened in 1936 and was the second-largest airport in Germany (after Tempelhof Airport in Berlin) through World War II. Plans for a new airport in the south of Frankfurt existed since before 1930, but they were not realized due to the Great Depression. After 1933 the plans were revived by the Nazi regime and they started the construction of the airport. Initially the airport was the main base for the airships LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ 129 Hindenburg, but regular flights were discontinued after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.
During World War II the airport saw military use. Female prisoners from Walldorf concentration camp were forced to work for the airport. The camp was near the airport and existed from August to November 1944. After the war, it served as the main West German operations base for the United States Air Force's contribution to the Berlin Airlift. Since the main runway deteriorated due to the heavy use, a second runway was constructed during this time. Lufthansa recommenced their flights from Frankfurt in 1955, when Germany regained sovereignty after the war.
Work on a new terminal building began in 1990; Terminal 2 opened in 1994. Frankfurt Airport long-distance station (Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof) was inaugurated in 1999. It is primarily used by long-distance InterCityExpress trains, while regional/commuter trains (S-Bahn) continue to use the nearby underground regional station.
Frankfurt Airport transfer
The Frankfurt airport is directly linked to the A3 (Cologne-Munich) and A5 (Hanover-Basel) motorways, which border the airport's eastern and northern boundaries and meet up at the Frankfurter Kreuz junction for access to the airport on the federal road B43.
Frankfurt airport has two passenger railway facilities. The Regional Train Station (platforms 1-3) is located beneath Terminal 1. From here, S-Bahn commuter trains (lines S8 and S9) depart for central Frankfurt and the Hauptbahnhof (central station). Trains also run to Offenbach and Hanau, and to Rüsselsheim, Mainz and Wiesbaden. RegionalExpress (RE) and StadtExpress (SE) trains serve many other destinations. The Squaire long-distance train station (platforms 4-7) is linked via a connector building to Terminal 1. From here, a number of high-speed ICE trains depart to the central stations of Cologne (journey time: 1 hour) and Stuttgart (journey time: 75 minutes), with connections further afield in Germany and across Europe. Services are operated by Deutsche Bahn (tel: (01805) 221100 or 11861 or 0800 150 7090; www.bahn.de).
Regular buses stop at the bus station in front of the Terminal 1 Arrivals hall, and at the bus bay in front of the Arrivals/Departures halls of Terminal 2. Bus 61 serves Frankfurt-Südbahnhof, bus 900 serves Obertshausen-Bahnhof and bus 73 serves Kelsterbach, while the Darmstadt Airliner runs to Darmstadt. There are also Lufthansa bus lines to Hahn Airport, Heidelberg, Mannheim and Strasbourg, stopping in front of Arrivals Hall B, Terminal 1.
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