Germany's Frankfurt Airport is celebrating its Terminal 1’s first 50 years in operation.

On March 14, 1972, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) entered a new era with the opening of Terminal 1, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in Europe. 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 the underground regional train station that gave direct access to Germany’s national rail network.

Plans for the new terminal were drawn up in the 1950s. The construction project took seven years at a cost of one billion Deutschmarks and employed up to 2,500 workers. The backbone of terminal operations was the state-of-the-art baggage handling system – the key to enabling passenger transfer times of just 45 minutes. Since the terminal’s inauguration, Airport operator Fraport AG has invested around 4.5 billion euros in its expansion and improvement.

In 1972, the airport handled some 12 million passengers. The 30 million mark target for the facility was exceeded for the first time in 1992 and 2019 was the busiest year ever with 70 million passengers, 80% departing or arriving via Terminal 1.

“Terminal 1 marked a new era for the airport,” said Dr Stefan Schulte, CEO of Fraport AG. “Larger aircraft, rapid transfers, a baggage handling system that was a world first, plus state-of-the-art infrastructure – all this cemented the airport’s position as Germany’s leading aviation hub. And in association with our partners, we have continued to evolve the airport over the last half century.”

Ongoing development of existing infrastructure will ensure smooth passenger flows and transfers. Biometrics, for instance, 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 Terminal 1, taking just eight minutes to travel between Terminal 1 and Terminals 2 and 3.