A Sign Of Recovery? Frankfurt Airport Will Reopen All Its Runways

Frankfurt Airport will reopen its northern runway from June 1st. Hopefully, the move marks an important turning point in the city’s aviation recovery, which is still currently experiencing limited passenger numbers. The reopening is ahead of an expected increase in air traffic, last seen in summer 2020.

Frankfurt Airport, North West Runway, Reopening
Frankfurt Airport will reopen its northwest runway next month (not pictured). Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Europe’s busiest airports all have multiple runways allowing for an increased number of take-offs and landings. Typically it’s a case of the more runways, the better for airports that operate at or near to capacity. When demand disappears, excess runways can become a financial burden instead of a benefit, as was seen with Frankfurt’s Runway 07L-25R.

Reopening 07L-25R

Today, Frankfurt Airport revealed that its northwest runway, 07L-25R, will reopen on Tuesday, June 1st. The airport had said that the runway would remain closed until traffic demand increased. Now, it is expecting precisely that. There has been a slight uptick in the number of movements observed at the airport, with borders beginning to reopen.

In charge of coordinating air traffic across Europe, Eurocontrol is forecasting an increase in passenger aircraft movements. These predictions mean that the airport will need the extra runway to cope with expected flight numbers. The Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) GmbH, in charge of air traffic control in Germany, supports the move. The runway is only used for arriving flights.

Frankfurt Airport, North West Runway, Reopening
The runway (pictured) has been closed since December 14th. Photo: Fraport

Not the first closure for the runway

This isn’t the first time that the runway has been closed due to the crisis, but it is its most extended closure yet. Last year the runway was closed on March 23rd. It then reopened three and a half months later, on July 8th.

While European traffic did rebound towards the end of last summer, it began to decline again as winter approached. As such, Fraport decided to close the runway on December 14th once again. This means that the runway will have been closed for five months and 18 days this time around.

While the runway was closed, it remained in use, although not for arriving and departing aircraft. Instead, the area became a parking place for Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s that weren’t flying. Some were even parked without their engines. Now that Lufthansa has moved most of its A380s to Teruel, it has more space elsewhere to store the 747s.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-8, Runway Parking
Lufthansa had parked Boeing 747-8s on the runway while it was out of use. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

While all of the airport’s runways will be open at the height of summer, only one terminal will be used for the time being. While Terminal 2 has been closed for the past year, the airport is currently evaluating its reopening. Although there are no firm plans, it could reopen as soon as the beginning of June. This would be a boon for many in the local area, as it will mean more workers will be needed for the additional facilities.

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Quarantine free travel

Undoubtedly, a recent change in quarantine policy made by the German Government will favor air travel demand. Last week, Angela Merkel’s government changed the infection prevention measures to mean that arrivals from so-called risk countries won’t be required to quarantine. The change means that quarantine-free access to the country is now available from over 100 countries.

Frankfurt Airport, North West Runway, Reopening
Germany recently updated its quarantine rules (map is intended as a guide and with some variations possible from what is shown). Photo: mapchart.net (click to enlarge)

Previously, most arrivals were subject to at least five days in quarantine. Those coming from high-incidence areas such as France will still need to quarantine for at least five days unless they’ve recently recovered from the virus or are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, arrivals from virus variant areas must undergo a non-negotiable 14-day quarantine.

Are you excited to see things starting to get back on track at Frankfurt Airport? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!