Frankfurt Airport Optimally Prepared to Serve as Global Hub for the World Cup
Frankfurt (FRAPORT) - Providing world champion service, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is the only airport in Germany to offer a dedicated passenger terminal for national teams and visiting fans during the upcoming FIFA World Cup. For this purpose, Fraport AG (the Frankfurt Airport company) has re-commissioned the passenger terminal of the former U.S. Rhine-Main Air Base at the southern side of FRA. Named the "World Cup Terminal," this facility was unveiled yesterday as part of a comprehensive package of measures adopted by Fraport to ensure smooth operations and optimum service for the additional passengers expected and to create a memorable World Cup atmosphere at FRA. A pair of huge football shoes – a sculpture from the federal government's "Germany – Land of Ideas" campaign –is displayed in front of the World Cup Terminal to help fans catch the football feeling. Fraport is a corporate sponsor and participant of this campaign.
Otto Schily, Germany's former minister of the interior and an initiator and advisory committee member of "Germany – Land of Ideas" explained: "This sculpture, titled "The Modern Football Shoe," is only a tiny part of Germany's wealth of ideas, which is partly documented by six giant sculptures along the new "Walk of Ideas" in Berlin. Because FRA's World Cup Terminal is dedicated exclusively to football, the shoe sculpture couldn't serve as a better ambassador, linking the inventive talent of the past with the innovative power of today – particularly because the shoe is made of a modern variant of Styrofoam (polystyrene)." Schily said that the partners complement one another in their effort to convey a positive image of Germany to the rest of the world. "Together, we intend to present a modern and innovative land of ideas. We have achieved this superbly with Frankfurt Airport's World Cup Terminal.
Weirich explained that FRA is completely focused on football. "We are expecting around 450,000 additional passengers during the coming World Cup weeks. More than 560 extra flights have been registered, including 300 flights to be operated with medium sized and widebody aircraft. The arrival of seven national teams underscores Frankfurt Airport's central role in Germany."
Fraport AG has developed its own logo to identify campaigns and service offers at FRA. The theme will be visible on all advertising areas and at all shops and restaurants: the airport will signal "World Championship". Furthermore, Fraport's information staff in the terminals will be increased by about 180 people, specially trained for the World Cup. The information team will be circulating throughout the passenger terminals distributing information material, etc. They will be easily recognized as contact persons for all questions concerning the World Cup. National tourist organizations, for example from Brazil and Mexico, will also be in FRA's terminals to assist fans from their respective countries.
Throughout the airport, passengers and visitors will have an opportunity to watch the World Cup. Games will be broadcast live on the 176 monitors in the gate lounges of the terminals, as well as on "vision walls" next to the Connection Bar in Departures Hall B and at other airport restaurants. The Airport Forum near FRA's Long-distance Train Station will serve as a contact point for football fans from around the world, who do not want to miss the imminent live broadcast of games. This facility was successfully used as a "Pilgrims Point" during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Germany for the World Youth Day 2005 festivities.
"We will also be providing close-up experiences of football," said Weirich. On 20 days during the World Cup event, ball artists will dance with the ball throughout Terminals 1 and 2 and, of course, the World Cup Terminal. The world champion in tabletop football will be demonstrating his skills at the World Cup Terminal and Terminal 2. He will be showing tricks and inviting passengers to play against him. Parading around the departure halls of Terminal 1, three-meter-tall stilt walkers will be sporting huge footballs around their hips.
In addition to the "Germany – Land of Ideas" campaign, Fraport AG is sponsoring the Sky Arena spectacular light show in downtown Frankfurt on the long weekend from June 3 to 5. Frankfurt's skyscrapers and skyline will be turned into a giant night-time screen for a World Cup-related multimedia show. FRA will also be helping journalist from around the world. For example, upon arrival at the airport, every journalist will receive a knapsack containing useful information and items.
Volker Zintel, Fraport AG's executive vice president Traffic and Terminal Management, Airport Expansion and Security explained that a well conceived utilization plan provides for optimum handling capacities and discreet handling of the national football teams in the World Cup Terminal, as required by FIFA. All preparations have been made to ensure that the additional air and landside traffic can be handled smoothly despite the considerable strain on airport capacities during the summer months. In cooperation with the RMV Rhine-Main Regional Transit Authority and partners from the home countries of the football fans, bus services will be provided between the World Cup Terminal and the Frankfurt stadium or the S-Bahn commuter train stations so that guests can reach their destination quickly or get back to the airport for their return flights in plenty of time.
The World Cup Terminal features 18 immigration check-points, 12 check-in counters (plus 3 extra ones without a baggage belt), 6 aviation security check-points, 4 departure gates (2 to be used alternately for teams and fans). These facilities will ensure sufficient capacity for the expeditious handling of the fans. There will be several shops and restaurants, live broadcast coverage of the games, and an entertainment program (e.g., tabletop football world champion, ball artist, music) to add to the World Cup excitement.
Up to 22 aircraft positions will be available, including 3 for widebody aircraft, on the ramp in front of and just west of the World Cup Terminal.
Seven national teams will be traveling to the World Cup championship via FRA. The Costa Rican team will arrive on May 25, the Japanese team on May 26, and the Ecuadorian team on May 29. The Mexican team is expected on June 2, and the Tunisian team on June 5. Two teams will be headquartered in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region for the World Cup: Saudi Arabia (arriving on May 27) and Brazil (arriving on June 4). Some 17 flight movements to and from Frankfurt Airport have already been scheduled for the period of the group games. Further flights carrying national teams via FRA can be expected during the World Cup.
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