From today, Frankfurt Airport will be using all of its runways and terminals as it looks to recover from the devastation brought on the aviation industry by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the northern runway had been closed since December, Terminal 2 had been closed for over a year.
The past 15 months have been incredibly tough for the aviation industry, perhaps with the exception of aircraft storage facilities. Despite this, there is hope that falling COVID-19 case rates, tied with increased vaccine availability, will make widespread travel a possibility once more. Traffic numbers seem to be slowly increasing, backing this up.
Reopening the northwest runway
The northwest runway is the least useful to Frankfurt, as it is only used for landing flights and is a long taxi from the terminal. The airport had said that when sufficient traffic levels had returned, it would reopen the runway.
Today was that day, as at 06:54, LH893 became the first flight to land on the runway since it closed in mid-December. According to data from RadarBox.com, the flight originated in Riga at 05:57 and was operated by D-AILL, a 24-year-old Airbus A319.
Frankfurt Airport has four runways. Three run parallel in the direction 07-25, with a fourth runway pointing to the south (18) used solely for departures in one direction. Given the lack of air traffic, Frankfurt Airport didn’t need all of its runways operational.
This meant that in mid-December, the northwest runway was closed for the second time since the start of the pandemic. Closing the runway meant that cash could be saved as the airport didn’t need to pay for firefighters, air traffic controllers, and other facilities related to the runway. It also meant that a significant amount of space at the airport could be opened up for aircraft storage. Lufthansa made use of the facility to store its parked Boeing 747-8 aircraft.
Terminal 2 is back in business
It’s not just the northwest runway that has reopened at Frankfurt Airport today. June 1st also marks the reopening of the airport’s Terminal 2. While all Frankfurt’s runways were reopened in the latter half of 2020, the same couldn’t be said about the terminals. 48 airlines will return to the terminal from today, including the likes of airBaltic, British Airways, Emirates, and Vistara.
This morning, the first flight to use Terminal 2 this morning was a TUIfly Boeing 737, headed to Rodes Island in Greece. The nine-year-old aircraft registered as D-ATUJ departed Frankfurt 23 minutes late at 05:08, taxing across to the other side of the airport to take off from Runway 18, according to RadarBox.com.
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Lufthansa reopens the first class lounge
Zooming back over to Terminal 1, home airline Lufthansa has also been reopening facilities. Today marks the reopening of the airline’s first class lounge in Terminal 1. Due to Frankfurt’s current COVID-19 regulations, food and drink cannot currently be served in the lounge, meaning that passengers must use a take-away selection.
In the coming months, Lufthansa will reopen further lounges, whole also making the First Class Terminal available again soon. It seems as though aviation in Frankfurt sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
When did you last fly to Frankfurt International Airport? Let us know in the comments below!