The airport's expansion is also opening up new prospects for the entire Rhine-Main Region. As Frankfurt Airport profits from the dynamic increase in international aviation volumes, it is also providing a major boost to the surrounding areas.
Before the Runway Northwest began operating, Frankfurt Airport was at the limit of its capacity during peak periods, with no easing of the situation in sight. Even minor holdups in operations could seriously disrupt the flight schedule. Late departures and landings and rushed transfers resulted, often provoking complaints. This was bad for passengers, bad for airport operations, and bad for the whole airport location.
It was no longer possible to meet airlines' requests for permission to schedule more flights. This was endangering the future of Frankfurt Airport, despite its excellent position in this highly competitive industry. Worldwide, air traffic volumes have been growing for decades at a rate of around five percent a year. All of the experts also predict that the demand will continue increasing over the years and decades ahead.
In 1997, the chairman of the board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Jürgen Weber, therefore issued an appeal to expand the airport's capacity. He stressed that without this additional capacity, the airlines serving Frankfurt would no longer be able to develop their offerings to keep pace with market demand. They would be forced to shift their services to other locations, he said.
New Growth Prospects
The fourth runway averted this risk. Now flight operations proceed much more smoothly. Punctuality has greatly improved, resulting in noticeably greater satisfaction on the part of passengers, airlines, and handlers. It has finally also been possible to once again assign more slots to the airlines. Frankfurt Airport has resumed participating in the global surge in aviation. It has preserved its prospects for continued growth in the face of worldwide competition in this steadily expanding, forward-looking industry.