Frankfurt celebrates 80 years
On July 8 1936 a Junkers Ju5/3m landed at Rhein Main Airport and Airship Station, an airfield that was to become today's Frankfurt Airport. It has since become one of the most important transport hubs in Europe.
In its first full year of operation, 1937, Frankfurt airport handled around 71,000 passengers. Markus Grossbach, head of the Fraport archive commented: “But at that time, the airport still looked very much like a farm. Sheep grazed on the airfield and the green areas were kept free of woodland growth by farming potatoes.”
During the war that followed shortly afterwards, more than 2,000 bombs were dropped on the airfield and its infrastructure was largely destroyed. Civilian aircraft returned in 1946, and the airport soon found a role in supporting the Berlin Airlift. With peace settling across Europe, traffic increased rapidly and by 1960 2.2m passengers were using Frankfurt airport. The numbers continued inexorably upward - 17.7m in 1980, and 30m ten years later. By last year, the traffic had more than doubled again, when FRA welcomed 61m travellers.
Facilities have been expanded to match the growth in throughput, with Terminal 2 adding to the original and much expanded buildings, and ground being broken on Terminal 3 - on the opposite side of two of FRA's four runways - late last year. Today, the airport is the primary long-haul hub for Lufthansa, welcomes around 100 airlines, and is also a major centre for cargo and mail. Unlike some other European airports, it has added runways and other facilities, enabling it for the most part to match capacity to demand. Now, more than 80,000 people are employed on the airport site, and it is the largest workplace in Germany. Airports of the World regularly features news stories on FRA, as its infrastructure is continuously upgraded with new and innovative features.
Happy 80th birthday Frankfurt!
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