Aviation Event Day 1 – Airport Tour, Frankfurt Airport.
Earlier this week I spent two days in Frankfurt because I was asked to be a speaker at the “Aviation and Social Media” panel discussion at Aviation Event. I arrived at noon with our “sister airline” Austrian Airlines and went straight to the Holiday Inn at Gateway Gardens where we were accommodated for the event.
Upon arrival I met my fellow cabin crew and flight crew members, who I instantly connected with. Carolin, Julia, Kelsey, Monika, Verena and I had such a great time these two days! To me this is something I truly love about the aviation industry. You just click with others only because they have the same passion. We all have different backgrounds and are working for different airlines, but nobody cares, as our hearts beat for the same thing.
The first thing on our agenda was a tour at Frankfurt Airport for all speakers of the Aviation Event. Therefore, we were all picked up at the Holiday Inn by a Senior Representative of Corporate Communications of the Visitors Service. We went to the airport and had to undergo the same security checks as normal passengers. After the security control we were in the airside center where we boarded another bus that drove us around the apron. We saw around a dozens of different aircraft, mostly from Lufthansa of course, who is clearly dominating that place. Our tour guide provided us with a lot of interesting information and explanations on terminals, catering, cargo, aircraft handling, technic and runways.
✈ Facts about FRA
The tour was filled with a lot of interesting information I was not yet completely aware of. That’s why I took notes while our tour guide was speaking:
- Frankfurt Airport is serving 299 destinations world-wide, which is more than any other airport in the world
- It is #4 in Europe in terms of passenger handling (right after AMS, CDG and the #1 LHR) and #13 worldwide
- in terms of cargo FRA is #1 in Europe and #10 world-wide
- Speaking of cargo: Saturday and Sunday are peak-days. 60% of cargo is handled on these two days and only 40% between Monday and Friday
- Fun fact: did you know that FRA is the second biggest importer of fresh fish in Germany? I personally never thought of that.
- Aircraft can turn-around at Frankfurt Airport within 45 minutes, meaning that it takes 45 minutes between block-on and block-off for de-boarding, cleaning, fueling, loading, catering, the pilots performing their checks and boarding.
Lufthansa is the #1 customer at Frankfurt Airport, followed by Condor
Working for an airline for nearly seven years it was honestly not so much new for me, since airports feel like home to me. Nevertheless, it was really interesting to get to know a different airport than my home-base ZRH airport.
Baggage Control Center
My favorite part of the tour came right after: a visit of the Baggage Control Center. That’s the area where they observe and control the checked-in luggage. That was definitely a look behind the scenes! At first that area did not look special to me at all, but what is behind all that is more than interesting.
FRA handles around 80.000 pieces of checked-in luggage per day, at peak-times up to 100.000. 57% of the baggage is transfer baggage, which has to be sorted and depending on agreements checked-through to the next destination.
When flying it happens quite often that passengers are not showing up at the aircraft but have luggage checked-in. For security reasons it is not allowed that luggage travels without the passenger by law. Therefore the luggage has to be offloaded before closing the aircraft doors. I saw that kind of scenario many times from the point of a cabin crew or passenger. It was super interesting seeing the other side and the numerous security measures behind checked-in luggage.
I also became aware of why it sometimes takes ages before your luggage arrives at the baggage belt. This has to do with the big distances between the parking position of the aircraft combined with logistic reasons.
They also briefly talked about the new technology of electronic luggage tags by Rimowa. To me, electronic luggage tags are the next big thing in aviation, as you can check in your luggage from anywhere in the world. Up to now, only Lufthansa and Eva Air have started using electronic tags. United, Condor and Thomas Cook are testing it. And my humble self is flirting with it. 😉
Voilà, some visual impressions about our tour at Frankfurt Airport: