Frankfurt Airport’s 3rd Terminal Won’t Open Until 2025

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, Frankfurt Airport’s new Terminal 3 won’t open until 2025. The first part of the new terminal was initially due to open in 2022. However, the airport is currently running its entire operations from part of one terminal due to the current situation.

Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 3, Delay
Frankfurt Airport’s new Terminal 3 won’t open for another five years, at least. Photo: Getty Images

German airports just can’t seem to catch a break. Tomorrow, Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport will finally open after ten years of delays. The reasons included everything from escalators being too short to one man’s quest for the perfect roof, according to The Local. Now it’s Frankfurt’s turn to join in on the airport misery.

Three years late opening

According to the Frankfurt newspaper, the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), none of Terminal 3 will now open before 2025. The airport’s CEO told the newspaper that the delay was due to the current lack of traffic generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He even mentioned that the terminal might not open until 2026.

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The new Terminal 3 is being built to increase the airport’s capacity. Of course, it goes without saying that while one single terminal is not fully open, there is no huge rush to increase capacity. Many airlines are expecting traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels around 2023-24. In June, Simple Flying reported that completion of the terminal had been pushed from 2023 to 2024.

Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 3, Delay
Terminal 3 is still being constructed. Photo: Fraport

Before the pandemic, Ryanair was still keen to move into what it has dubbed “the low-cost terminal.” In March, CEO Michael O’Leary told Simple Flying,

“We have no plans to pull-out of Frankfurt. We are in negotiations with the airport about you know, when are they going to deliver the low-cost terminal that has been promised. To be fair they have started building it now, but still haven’t got it delivered yet.”

The low-cost carrier is currently being forced to use Lufthansa’s Terminal 1, as Terminal 2 remains closed while its capacity is unneeded. This has even seen Ryanair Boeing 737 using massive gates designed for 747s and A380s.

How many passengers are currently using Frankfurt Airport?

Following the European aviation industry’s general trend, Frankfurt Airport has seen its passenger numbers dip in September. This comes after August was the best month for the airport since March. In August, passenger numbers peaked at 1,511,256. For September, they had fallen back down to 1,148,130. As a result, the total passengers traveling through the airport is down 83% year on year.

Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 3, Delay
Passenger numbers at the airport have plummeted. Graph: Simple Flying

It’s not all bad news, though. Frankfurt Airport is a key freight hub within Europe. Of course, the lack of passenger aircraft carrying cargo in their bellies has had an impact. However, the large number of dedicated cargo operators has meant that the airport’s cargo traffic remains constant. In September, 165,967 tonnes moved through the airport. This is down just 5% year on year.

Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 3, Delay
Cargo figures haven’t suffered so much. Graph: Simple Flying

What do you make of the delay to Frankfurt Terminal 3? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!