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Frankfurt Airport marks 50th anniversary of T1

Introduction of intermodal transport

On March 14, 1972, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) entered a new era: Terminal 1, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind anywhere in Europe, opened its doors to the public. For the first time, all key passenger-facing processes, from check-in to boarding, were under one roof. The same date saw the launch of intermodal transportation at Frankfurt Airport: the underground regional train station gave the airport direct access to Germany’s nationwide rail network. 

Plans for the new “Central Terminal”, as it was initially named, were first drawn up in the 1950s. The construction project itself took seven years and employed up to 2,500 workers on site. Capital expenditure on the terminal facilities and the underground railway station totaled around a billion Deutschmarks. The backbone of terminal operations was and remains the baggage handling system; from the very outset, it was the key to enabling passenger transfer times of just 45 minutes. 

The terminal was initially designed for approximately 30 million passengers annually. In 1972, the airport handled some 12 million travelers. The 30-million mark was exceeded for the first time in 1992. 2019 was the busiest year ever, with 70 million passengers, 80 percent departing or arriving via T1. 

Since the terminal’s inauguration, Fraport has invested around 4.5 billion euros in its expansion and further improvement. 

T1 remains the heart of the airport and a prime example of successful ongoing development of existing infrastructure. Under the banner of “Building the Future – Transforming Terminal 1”, the facility will see additional enhancements. From 2027, 16 security lanes, with a new layout and the latest technology, will ensure smooth passenger flows and transfers. 

In close cooperation with the airlines, Fraport has already introduced many digital and automated processes throughout the airport, and continues to roll out more. Biometrics will make the entire passenger experience faster and more convenient. 

In the future, it will be possible to take the Sky Line shuttle from the north to the south of the airport via a new station at T1. The people mover will take just eight minutes to travel between Terminal 1 and T2 and 3.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency