Fourth runway means eventual 50% capacity increase
The recent opening of a fourth runway at Frankfurt Airport represents a major threat to Europe’s other international carriers and hubs. Because capacity has been held back in recent years, passenger numbers at FRA increased by less than 10% during the first decade of the 21st century compared to as much as 76% between 1991 and 2000. The emergence of low-cost carriers has meant that the airport’s share of the German market fell from 35% in 2002 to 28% in 2008, despite the country’s traffic rising by 40% during the period.
The hub’s runway number three has been only for takeoffs, while the fourth is for landings. Capacity will eventually increase by 50% and FRA may be handling 65 million passengers per year by 2015. Around 65% of the airport’s scheduled flights are Lufthansa’s. The German carrier will be able to build on feeder markets, including Scandinavia, while Norwegian has already launched CPH-FRA flights with Oslo and Stockholm possibly to follow. Meanwhile, FRA’s future status as Europe’s number-one airport seems assured.
[pictured: Runway Northwest, FRA; courtesy Fraport]