Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH

LUFTHANSA IS WARNING that it will soon encounter shortages of terminal capacity at Munich Airport, just a year after declaring its intention to turn the new airport into a major hub.

"We have one problem in Munich: the airport is too small," says Christoph Muller, Lufthansa's senior vice-president for corporate planning and network management. He says that the development of the airport as a continental hub connecting to the hubs of partner airlines will continue, but the airline will find itself with land-side capacity shortages this winter.

The current Munich Airport, operational since 1993, has only 20 passenger bridges, says Muller, allowing Lufthansa to handle only 50% of passengers at the terminal. "We want to expand further at Munich, but there is no possibility from the terminal side," he says.

Munich Airport says that it is surprised by the airline's comments, claiming that it still has capacity to spare, and is working to expand the existing terminal, and to build a new one, doubling the 18 million passenger capacity of the airport in the next decade.

Since Lufthansa's 1993 summer schedule, the airline has increased flights at Munich by 20%, using Canadair Regional Jets, Avro RJ85s, Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s and A321s, with Munich-based Airbus A340s being flown on intercontinental routes.

Traffic at the airport is growing steadily, at double the average rate of Germany's other commercial airports. In the first half of this year, Munich handled 7.4 million passengers - a 6% increase on 1995's first half.

Source: Flight International