Munich eyeing greater cargo role

It would not have been wrong – a decade and a half ago – to describe Munich Airport as 'the little airport that could'. That descriptor no longer applies as Munich now stands shoulder to shoulder with Europe's biggest and busiest hubs. Donald Urquhart has the story.

In the little over 15 years since its opening, Munich Airport (MUC) has transformed itself from a small regional airport to Europe’s 7th largest, not tomention, its fastest growing large airport.

Over that time period MUC saw its passenger traffic more than double and its cargo traffic more than triple.

This necessitated a second terminal in 2003 and now a third runway which the airport’s CEO Michael Kerkloh said is currently in the approval process and expected to be operational by end-2011. The 4,000 metre runway will also be operated independently from the existing two runways which enables higher capacity.

In 2006 this growth saw some 30.8 million passengers, up 7.5 per cent year-on- year; 400,000 aircraft movements, up 3 per cent; and 400,000 tonnes of cargo throughput (of which 224,000 was fl own), up 11 per cent, at MUC.

Highlighting these growth figures – which are all above European averages – Kerkloh said he expects to achieve at least these volumes for 2007, pointing to the first nine months of the year which saw 184,000 tonnes of air cargo handled, an increase of nearly 13 per cent over the same period 2006.

By 2020 the passenger figure is forecast to rise to 57 million passengers and 607,000 aircraft movements, while cargo volumes will rise to 945,000 tonnes by 2015.