Figure 1. Land evolution around Frankfurt Airport for the last 60 years. In purple – the expansion of the airport, in light brown – newer residential areas, in dark brown – older residential areas
Frankfurt Airport is the largest airport in Germany, serving more than 69,5 million passengers (2018). Currently, 89 airlines operate in the airport and offer flights to 262 destinations, of which almost half are intercontinental. About 55% of all passengers use Frankfurt as a connecting hub – it is the highest transfer rate among the major European hubs. However, as busy as it is, Frankfurt Airport is located in the close vicinity of many towns and cities – almost half of Germany’s population lives within a 200 km radius of the Frankfurt intermodal travel hub – the largest airport catchment area in Europe.
The German Civil Aviation Law obliges the operators of civil airports to set up and operate installations to measure air traffic noise near the airport. To comply with that, Fraport AG (the airport operator) set up a total of 29 stationary measuring stations and three additional mobile measurement containers in the neighbourhood of the airport.
Land-use planning is an important aspect of Frankfurt Airport. The Government established daytime and night-time noise protection areas in 2007. These areas have particular noise limits which the aircraft has to abide. For existing residential buildings located in these zones, the law obliges the airport operator to cover the costs for constructional soundproofing measures at these buildings. Among many other initiatives carried out by the airport, CASA programme was created to buy out the residential properties that were flown over at especially low altitudes for which their owners were compensated financially.