A successful hub airport with outstanding connections

The Aviation business division is responsible for FMG’s core business. It provides and markets aviation infrastructure and services for airlines and passengers, working with the authorities and other stakeholders. Munich Airport is a hub airport. It has the densest network of intra-continental flights in Europe, meaning that it is able to offer travelers an array of European destinations and – in conjunction with its intercontinental services – transfer connections to long-haul destinations. Munich Airport’s distinguishing features are its short minimal connecting times, a high standard of service, and efficient processes.

Its outstanding connection options are also reflected in its good rating in the Airport Industry Connectivity Report 2016 published by the ACI. This report assesses the quality of connections at individual air traffic hubs. Munich Airport achieved sixth place within Europe, and ninth place worldwide.

However, Munich Airport is not just a hub for transfer passengers – its wide range of direct connections is also appealing to travelers. One of the factors that shaped trends in this traffic segment last year was the further expansion of Lufthansa’s partner bmi regional.

New records in the third quarter

In the months of July, August, and September, Munich Airport recorded a total of 12.3 million passengers – which is more than in any other quarter in its history.

Chart: New records in the third quarter

Record figures for passengers and cargo; turnaround in the number of movements affirmed

A new passenger record was set in 2016: 42.3 million travelers used Munich Airport last year, representing a 3.1 percent increase year-on-year. Nevertheless, Munich Airport still fell two places in the ranking of European airports, finishing in ninth place for passenger numbers. One reason for this is the airport’s capacity bottlenecks, a problem that other airports are less affected by.

Fiscal year 2016 was very positive for the field of airfreight: The airport handled 355,950 tonnes, equivalent to an increase of 5.4 percent. In Munich, the total figure for airfreight and post (cargo) was 375,121 tonnes, representing growth of 5.3 percent. A comparison conducted by the German Airports Association (ADV) showed that German passenger airports recorded growth of just 3.1 percent.

Developments in aircraft movements in 2016 confirmed the turnaround from the previous year. The number of aircraft movements increased by more than 14,000 flights – or by 3.8 percent – to 394,430, despite negative factors such as strikes, meaning that existing capacity bottlenecks became even more of an issue. Munich therefore achieved far better growth than other German passenger airports, which recorded an increase of 1.7 percent.

Munich Airport: a transport hub in the heart of Europe

In 2016, the number of direct destinations served by Munich grew by ten, to 257. Lufthansa enhanced its European network in collaboration with the British company bmi. Intercontinental traffic achieved particularly dynamic growth. Lufthansa also expanded its offering in this area, adding Denver and Tehran as new destinations and additional flights to Los Angeles and Miami. Condor further increased its range of long-haul routes with flights to Halifax, Havana, Windhoek, Zanzibar, and Mombasa. Delta Airlines launched a new route to Detroit while Emirates extended its offering by adding a third daily flight to Dubai. Saudia has been offering flights between Munich and Riyadh via Jeddah since summer 2016. Kuwait Airways continued its flights to Kuwait in its winter timetable.

Passenger structure in 2016

Destinations with the highest passenger volume

Chart: Destinations with the highest passenger volume

Trend in transfer passenger figures

Since 2006, as a %

Chart: Trend in transfer passenger figures

The hub airport: a successful model

Hubs bundle flights in an efficient and resource-friendly manner. This creates lots of different connections using a minimum number of aircraft.

Chart: The hub airport: a successful model

Urgent need for capacity adjustments

The new satellite building has been increasing terminal capacity since April 2016. In light of this growth, Lufthansa will be positioning three additional intracontinental aircraft in Munich. Another particularly positive development for Munich Airport is the future stationing of 15 new A350 aircraft on site. The renovations to Terminal 1 are continuing to make good progress, with the objective of also eliminating bottlenecks that occasionally occur here.

The runway system remains a severe hindrance to the airport’s growth. Various airlines, including Air France, Emirates, Finnair, Oman Air and Egypt Air, are only able to offer a limited number of connections to their hubs’ traffic junctions due to bottlenecks in Munich, and report time-critical connections in Munich. The sometimes severe problems with slot coordination for summer 2017 once again reveal that the runway system in Munich is broadly overloaded and that the constant demand for slots can no longer be sufficiently met.

Safety and security of the highest caliber

Safety and security are tremendously important for airports. Top priority is given to both aviation security (airport security) and the safe operation of aircraft and their handling on the ground (airport safety). The airport is focusing on preventing accidents and dangerous situations by applying suitable processes and systems, particularly in light of the rising traffic figures.

In 2014, the EU passed new regulations for the certification of airports with the aim of harmonizing security standards, and achieving a consistently high level of security at all European airports. As part of this process, Munich Airport is required to gain certification based on the requirements set out by the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) by December 31, 2017. This process will look closely at issues such as infrastructure-based, operating, and organizational requirements relevant to air travel.

A multi-disciplinary project team has been preparing for the certification process since March 2015. In November 2016, Munich Airport submitted its application for certification to the South Bavarian Aviation Office at the District Government of Upper Bavaria. The application, including all inspections and audits, is due to be finally reviewed by the fourth quarter of 2017.

Foto: Sicherheit am Flughafen

Well-equipped Airport Rescue and Firefighting service

With its two stations, the Airport Rescue and Firefighting service can reach any point on the runways within a maximum of 180 seconds of an alarm being triggered. This quick response meets the strictest requirements (category 10) set out by the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), and is therefore in keeping with the high safety standards in place at Munich Airport. The Airport Rescue and Firefighting service is responsible not only for fire safety on the campus, but also rescue services.

In 2016, Munich Airport Rescue and Firefighting service organized a management simulation with various institutes and authorities in order to improve cooperation should a serious event occur. In order to make sure it is well equipped for major operations in future, the Airport Rescue and Firefighting service received a new command vehicle in 2016, which serves as a mobile communications center.

Protection against bird strike thanks to targeted biotope management

Collisions between aircraft and heavy birds or flocks of birds can pose a danger to the safety of flight operation. In order to avoid situations such as these, Munich Airport has been running a special biotope management scheme for decades. Because birds are attracted to recently mowed grass, the airport for example keeps maintenance of the green areas around the runways to the absolute minimum required. Furthermore, specially trained employees perform bird control duties on airport premises throughout the operating hours, monitoring birds’ movements, and actively dealing with any potential bird-related risks. Another important factor in preventing bird strike is avoiding larger bodies of water close to the flight operation areas, as these could attract heavy ducks and geese, for instance.

Statistics from the DAVVL (Deutscher Ausschuss zur Verhütung von Vogelschlägen im Luftverkehr e. V., the German Bird Strike Committee) show that Munich Airport has had comparatively low bird strike rates for many years. The average bird strike rates in Germany for 2016 were 130 and 176 percent higher respectively than the rates recorded for Munich Airport in areas 1 and 2.

Bird strike rate 1)

2016 Area 1 Area 2
Munich 1.47 0.25
Average for German airports 3.38 0.69
1) Number of bird strike reports for aircraft with a German registration per 10,000 registered aircraft movements (source: DAVVL; as of March 2017)
Area 1: Take-off 0-500 feet above ground; landing 200-0 feet above ground
Area 2: Take-off 501-1,500 feet above ground; landing 1,000-201 feet above ground

For its work in bird strike prevention, FMG liaises closely with the relevant partners and institutes, in particular the airlines, German air traffic control, regional and higher-level authorities, and the DAVVL. Despite the safety issues involved, the protection of birds remains an important priority.