Air Transport World

Demilitarized zone: Frankfurt Airport has gained expansion room for new CargoCity South on the site of a former U.S. Air Force base.(includes article about Lufthansa Cargo)

Frankfurt Airport has gained expansion room for new CargoCity South on the site of a former U.S. Air Force base

FRANKFURT--Depending on how you compute it, Frankfurt/Main airport is either the largest cargo hub in Europe, surpassing even London's three major airports combined, or the second-largest cargo hub but largest "single airport" cargo hub in Europe.

In 1994, FRA handled 1.28 million tonnes of cargo, a 100% increase over the 640,000 tonnes handled in 1980 and an 8.6% jump over 1993. According to the airport's owner and management company, Flughafen Frankfurt/Main AG (FAG), this makes it No. 1 in Europe and No. 5 worldwide. However, the 1994 total consists of freight that is loaded and unloaded (1,245,732 tonnes) plus transit freight that never leaves the hold (33,654 tonnes). The U.K.'s BAA doesn't count transit freight and reported that its 1,278,685 tonnes loaded and unloaded made it the No. 1 European hub in 1994 (ATW,, 11/95).

Total 1994 cargo, including mail but excluding the transit freight for FRA, was 1.4 million tonnes, compared with London's 1.38 million, which also would give the top spot to FRA.

In passenger operations, which account for high belly cargo capacity, FRA ranks only behind Heathrow, London's largest airport, in Europe, with some 110 scheduled carriers offering 3,463 connections per week to 251 destinations in 106 countries, based on summer, 1995 schedules.

But as with most things, being No. 1 or 2 deals mostly with pride and basically, is fraught with overall insignificance. The important thing is what is being done for the future. In that respect, FRA is solidly on line for its rapidly growing cargo operations.

Set in 4,198 acres, FRA is one of the world's smallest major international airports, with every effort it makes to expand contested fiercely by Germany's well-established, environmentalist Green Party. Therefore, space is at a premium. Air freight, excluding mail, has been growing since 1992, when it rose by 3% over 1991. …

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