As of today, Frankfurt Airport will be using all of its runways and terminals as it attempts to recover from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The northern runway had been closed since December, while Terminal 2 had been closed for over a year.
The northwest runway is of least use to Frankfurt, as it is only used for landings, and it is a long taxi ride away from the terminal. It had been announced that the runway would be reopened when sufficient traffic levels had returned.
At 06:54 today, LH893 became the first flight to land on the runway since it closed in mid-December. A RadarBox.com report indicates that D-AILL, a 24-year-old Airbus A319 operated the aircraft, which originated in Riga at 05:57.
Four runways serve the Frankfurt Airport. A fourth runway, pointing south (18), is used solely for departures in one direction, while three runways run parallel in the direction 07-25. As a result of the low air traffic, Frankfurt Airport did not need all its runways to operate.
Consequently, the northwestern runway was closed for the second time since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-December. By closing the runway, the airport was able to save money since firefighters, air traffic controllers, and other facilities associated with the runway were not needed any longer. Also, it meant that a substantial amount of storage space could be made available at the airport. Lufthansa used the facility to store parked Boeing 747-8 aircraft.
Frankfurt Airport has reopened more than just the northwest runway today. Additionally, the reopening of Terminal 2 takes place on June 1st. While Frankfurt’s runways were reopened in the latter half of 2020, it couldn’t be said the same about its terminals. Air Baltic, British Airways, Emirates, and Vistara and about 45 more airlines will all be returning to the terminal from today.
This morning, the first flight to use Terminal 2 was a TUIfly Boeing 737 bound for Rodes Island in Greece. The aircraft with the registration D-ATUJ left Frankfurt 23 minutes late at 05:08 from Runway 18, taking off from the other side of the airport.
In Terminal 1, Lufthansa has also been reopening facilities. Today marks the reopening of the airline’s first-class lounge at Terminal 1. According to Frankfurt’s current COVID-19 regulations, food and drink cannot be served in the lounge, so passengers must choose from a takeaway menu.
During the next few months, Lufthansa will open more lounges, and soon the First Class Terminal will also be available. There seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for Frankfurt’s aviation industry.