Munich Airport's $2.6 Billion Expansion

Bavaria’s aviation experts called it a “hot summer.” The reference was not just to the sweltering heat across Germany, but also to the rising tensions among environmental groups and local residents who tried for six years to stop a proposed third...

The latest newcomers are Singapore Airlines and ANA, which have been operating from Munich since last year and have daily flights to Singapore and Tokyo, respectively.

“Also of key importance for us,” Kerkloh adds, “is the increase in frequencies by Lufthansa which, meanwhile, operates all its long haul flights on a daily basis.”

Kerkloh is also interested in attracting carriers from the Gulf.

“Qatar Airways has increased its connections this year to Doha to 11 weekly frequencies,” Kerkloh adds. “Emirates will use the Airbus A380 aircraft from January next year for one of its two daily flights to Dubai.”

MUC is also not neglecting other important regions. North America, for example, “continues to be a very important market,” Kerkloh emphasizes. MUC offers 107 weekly takeoffs to 14 destinations in the United States and Canada though Kerkloh is also keen to get other airlines and destinations in the airport’s flight plan. He confirmed that he is in “active contact” with some airlines in North America, but would not reveal their names.

“We were very pleased when Lufthansa recently announced that it will have a new connection from Munich to Mexico City next year,” Kerkloh adds.

In related news, FMG also noted in a press release last July that MUC saw particularly strong gains in the number of travelers on flights to and from the “BRICS” countries: Brazil; Russia; India; China; and South Africa, all of which are seeing their countries’ economies growing at a 5 percent to 10 percent clip. Each of the BRICS countries, which together represent 40 percent of the world’s population, is the destination of at least one flight per day from MUC. The passenger volume on routes to these five growth markets increased by an average of 26 percent during the first half of the year to a combined total of more than 900,000 passengers.


Recognizing the business potential inherent in cargo traffic, MUC is also building up the cargo segment. Kerkloh believes cargo traffic offers even greater growth opportunities than passenger traffic.

During the first half of 2011, the airport handled nearly 145,000 metric tons (159,000 tons), a 14 percent increase over the year-earlier period – an all-time record for the time frame. In order to keep pace with the steadily rising cargo volume, MUC will construct a new building for forwarding agents on an 18,000 square meter (59,000 square feet) parcel, which will be used by five major forwarding companies by next summer.

The future development of the cargo business at MUC would certainly be stimulated by specific trends in passenger traffic because a large part of the airport’s cargo business is transported in passenger aircraft belly.

“Since we expect an over-proportional rise in long-haul passenger traffic,” Kerkloh says, “an over-proportional growth in cargo can also be expected.”

The airport chairman declared that traffic in the first half of 2011 had been the best marks achieved by MUC in any first-half period.

“Never has Munich Airport clocked so many passengers in the first-half of a year,” Kerkloh claims.

Of Europe’s 10 leading airports, only Barcelona had surpassed Munich’s growth in passenger traffic.

“Creating quantity and safeguarding quality,” Kerkloh says, “that will be our task for the coming years.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Manik Mehta is a New York-based journalist with extensive experience covering aviation, including ground support, airports, airlines, infrastructure, and passenger/cargo traffic. From his New York base, Manik travels frequently to Europe and Asia.

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