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ROUTES: Frankfurt airport opens new A380-ready pier

Frankfurt airport unveils the latest stage of a major expansion programme today which will increase its Airbus A380-handling capabilities.

At a cost of €600 million ($775 million), the new Pier A-Plus was built to add capacity to complement Frankfurt's fourth runway. The new facility contains 23 new gates and seven docking positions for widebody aircraft. Of these, four positions are capable of handling A380s, and three the A340-600, both of which are operated by resident operator Lufthansa.

"It's a very flexible concept," says Robert Payne, who is head of airport operator Fraport's international press team. He adds that "the A380 docking positions can also be used for two smaller narrowbodies".

The new pier expands the airport's Terminal 1 by around 800m (2,600ft) and provides an additional 185,400m² of space, of which 10,000m² is for retail. Containing five lounges, Payne says Pier A-Plus will increase the capacity of Terminal 1 by 6 million passengers a year.

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