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Germany´s Top 3 Airports

Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is by far the largest among Germany´s many airports. More than 60 million passengers passed through this important hub in 2016. Its current capacity is around 65 million which means there is some margin left for further growth. But an ongoing expansion and the construction of a third terminal will raise capacity to about 90 million. This will catapult Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to the level of London Heathrow, which has been Europe´s largest Airport for decades.

The “new” Munich Airport (MUC), which opened in 1992 is Germany´s second largest in terms of passengers. 42 million travelers came through this modern and widely praised airport in the south of Germany. As a replacement for the much smaller Riem-airport, it was planned from scratch and built far outside the city of Munich to guarantee future expansion and easy construction. The Skytrax “World Airport Awards” labeled Munich Airport (MUC) as Europe´s best airport and top 4 in their global comparison.

Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) is Germany´s oldest airport if the Zeppelin-era is taken into account. DELAG, the world´s first commercial airline started operating from Düsseldorf already in 1910 their famous airships. Today it´s being used by about 23 million passengers per year which make it Germany´s third largest airport. It will lose this rank however in the near future to the scandal-driven Airport Berlin-Brandenburg with a capacity of about 40 million, whose opening has already postponed several times.

Flughafen Frankfurt (FRA)
neue Flughafen München (MUC)

Position 1: Frankfurt Airport (FRA); Passengers in 2016: 60.786.937

Position 2: Munich Airport (MUC); Passengers in 2016: 42.277.692

Position 3: Düsseldorf Airport (DUS); Passengers in 2016: 23.510.569

Position 4: Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL); Passengers in 2016: 21.253.959

Position 5: Hamburg Airport (HAM); Passengers in 2016: 16.220.000

Position 6: Köln/Bonn Airport (CGN); Passengers in 2016: 11.900.000

Position 7: Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF); Passengers in 2016: 11.652.922

Position 8: Stuttgart Airport (STR); Passengers in 2016: 10.640.610

Position 9: Hannover-Langenhagen Airport (HAJ); Passengers in 2016: 5.408.814

Position 10: Nuremberg Airport (NUE); Passengers in 2016: 3.484.622

Position 11: Bremen Airport (BRE); Passengers in 2016: 2.573.501

Airports with 10-20 million passengers per year

Berlin Tegel (TXL) Airport serves roughly 21 million passengers per year, which is close to the turnover of Düsseldorf Airport. It was planned to close Berlin Tegel (TXL) in favor of the unfinished Airport Berlin-Brandenburg already in 2012. But due to the unforeseen delay, Berlin Tegel keeps operating and even has seen some growth in passenger numbers in recent years. Apart from civil transport, Tegel Airport is also being used as an official airfield for politicians that are serving in the German government.

I terms of aircrafts (not Zeppelins), Hamburg Airport (HAM) which started operating in 1911, can claim to be Germany´s oldest airport. In 2016 it was visited by 16,2 million passengers which make it the fifth largest airport of the country. It´s operating near capacity which means further growth is difficult to achieve. In the recent years, air cargo got a higher importance and in 2016 a new dedicated cargo terminal started its operations. In terms of cargo, Hamburg Airport (HAM) comes third in Germany and even beats Düsseldorf Airport (DUS).

Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) serves 12 million passengers per year which make it Germany´s sixth largest airport. Before Belin became Germany´s capital once again after reunification, Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) had higher importance and also served as the main official airport for the West-German government. It hosts also an airforce base with 4500 soldiers and 1500 civil employees which operates its own small runway. It is also a main hub for cargo airlines such as UPS Airlines and FedEx.

Flughäfen mit 10-20 Millionen

Berlin´s second (still) active airport, Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) serves about 11,6 million passengers per year which makes it nearly as big than Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN). Once being used as the former GDR capital´s airport it is quite old and serves mainly to relieve Berlin Tegel (TXL) until the new Airport Berlin-Brandenburg will start operating. It is located in the same area than the unfinished new airport and has access to the airfield space. Due to construction and logistics, it can however only use one airfield which limits its operation.

Airport Stuttgart (STR) is an important airport in Germany´s south-west that serves a little over 10 million passengers per year. It is the only major airport that has been build and is operating with only one runway (apart from Berlin-Schönefeld). In spite of that, it has still room for further growth until it will reach its maximum capacity of 14 million. Some viability studies about a future expansion have been done. However, a strong opposition by citizen movements that fear involved noise-increase raise doubts that it could grow further.

Important regional airports: Hanover, Nuremberg, Bremen

Hanover Airport (HAJ) is Germany´s ninth-largest airport and well located in the center of the country. With only 5 million passengers per year, it is substantially smaller than the airports found in Cologne and Stuttgart. However, it can count on three runways which facilitates management and logistics quite substantially. Low-cost airline TUIfly has its home base at Hanover Airport (HAJ) and 30 airlines offer in total more than 129 direct connections to many European cities.

Airport Nuremberg (NUE) is a smaller airport located in the metropolitan area of Erlangen-Nuremberg in the north of Bavaria. It serves about 3,4 million passengers per year and is known for a notorious deficit year after year. With more than 120 million Euros of debt, its existence can be attributed to political decisions. But locals of the metropolitan enjoy its proximity – reaching the second-nearest airports in Munich and Frankfurt takes about two hours.

Bremen Airport (BRE) is even smaller with just about 2,5 million passengers per year. But unlike Nuremberg Airport (NUE), its operating at profit – at least since 2015. As Hamburg Airport (HAM) isn´t that far from Bremen, it´s growth potential is somehow limited. Nevertheless, it is offering some nice connections to vibrant destinations such as Riga, Vilnius, Istanbul, Alicante, Paris, London, Gran Canaria, Kopenhagen, Munich, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.

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