History of Munich Airport
The area serviced by Munich Airport today was once the domain of the Munich-Riem Airport, which was active from 1939 to 1992. After a long service that began as an airfield for the Third Reich, this former site was deemed too small to properly serve the needs of the region. While plans for the new airport were conceived in 1954, ground was not broken on the project until a full 26 years later, in 1980. An entire village, Franzheim, was completely demolished to make adequate space for the new facility. Its inhabitants were moved elsewhere.
In 1992, on the 17th of May, aviation operations ceased at Munich-Riem Airport and commenced at the new facility. Its formal name is Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport, named for the minister-president of Bavaria from 1978 to 1988. This honor fell to him because under the auspices of his government, the plans for the airport were realized. As a pilot himself and the chairman of the commercial airline-manufacturing company Airbus, aviation had special significance to him. The full and formal name of the airport is rarely used; the common German designation translates as “Munich Airport” and its International Air Transport Association, or IATA, code is MUC.
Munich Airport features two runways that flank either side of the airport’s main facilities. Both runways are 13,000 feet long and can handle any size of modern aircraft. There is also a helipad for helicopter traffic. Munich Airport holds the honor of being Germany’s second most popular airport, after international travel hub Frankfurt. Upwards of 37 million passengers pass through its doors annually, putting it in the top 20 airports globally according to passenger numbers.
There are two terminals at the airport, with a third terminal in the planning stages. Terminal 1 originated at the time the airport became operational, with four self-contained modules that each function as miniature terminals and handle both departures and arrivals. In 2003, the airport added a second terminal whose design is wholly different from the first. Instead of self-contained modules, the second terminal relies on a centralized plaza-style design.
Connecting the two terminals is a central area housing shopping, airport administration, and other passenger services. There is also a convenient train station, known as the S-Bahn, for transportation to and from the airport. In close proximity to these services is an airport hotel.
A good distance from the airport is an area designated as the Visitors’ Park, which facilitates viewing of all incoming and outgoing flights. It also houses a small aviation museum with three examples of antique aircraft.
A bus system, as well as S-Bahn trains and taxis service the airport. Extensive long- and short-term parking is available in the vicinity and the A-92 Motorway designates a specific exit for all airport traffic.
Plans to extend the airport commenced in 2012, upgrading Terminal 2 by enlarging the baggage handling area until it becomes a satellite extension of the terminal building. Plans are also in the works to add a third runway, however, public objections to the proposal have delayed construction.
Airlines Serving Munich Airport
In addition to being served by more than 20 international airlines, Munich Airport is a hub for some of the largest German airlines. Germany’s second busiest airport is a major base for Lufthansa. The national airline of Germany operates a schedule that includes more than 40 total worldwide destinations. Lufthansa takes passengers to capital cities in Europe such as Athens, Brussels, Budapest, Istanbul, Kiev, Lisbon, London, Oslo, Paris, Rome and Vienna. The German flag carrier also operates long haul flights to major Asian cities such as Busan, Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo.
Passengers at Munich Airport can also rely on Lufthansa for direct service to the Americas. Germany’s flag carrier offers non stop flights to some of the largest U.S. cities including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Montreal, one of the largest cities in Canada, is also on the list of direct Lufthansa flights. The large Brazilian city of Sao Paulo is accessible via the German flag carrier.
Lufthansa Regional at Munich Airport offers additional service to major metropolitan areas throughout Europe. In fact, these regional operations include flights to more than a dozen cities in Italy such as Bologna, Florence, Milan, Palermo, Pisa, Rome and Venice. The Lufthansa Regional schedule also includes important cities in Eastern Europe such as Belgrade, Chisinau, Kiev, Gdansk, Sofia, Sarajevo, Tirana and Warsaw. Of Course, Lufthansa Regional also includes domestic service to major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Stuttgart. All of the Lufthansa service is available in Terminal 2 at Munich Airport.
The second busiest airport in Germany serves as a hub for Air Berlin, the second largest airline company in Germany. This major domestic carrier connects Munich with some of the best destinations for resort vacations and tourism in the Mediterranean region. Middle Eastern destinations such as Egypt’s Hurghada and Sharm el Shekh and Israel’s Tel Aviv are accessible via Air Berlin flights. Greek Islands such as Crete, Kos, Lesbos, Samos, Rhodes and Zakythos can be reached by Germany’s second biggest airline. The Canary Islands and Balearic Islands of Spain are also on the list of Air Berlin flights. This major German airline operates at Terminal 1 in Munich Airport.
Other major German airlines that serve Munich Airport include Condor, Germania, Germanwings, and TUIfly. These companies specialize in taking customers on seasonal flights to vacation hot spots within the Mediterranean Sea.