A look back at an unusual year: 2020 (photo)

A look back at an unusual year: 2020

Timeline: a year of crisis

Rainbow (photo)

« Like the airlines, we were hit by a difficult situation through no fault of our own that poses huge challenges. The task before us now is to guide Munich Airport through a several-year consolidation phase. I am confident that our airport will resume its role as an important European aviation hub.»

Jost Lammers

Important cargo

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Munich Airport shows its importance as a site of transportation of aid goods and personal protective equipment. On average, 20 cargo flights a day pass through the airport in April, carrying medical protective items. These special air shipments make an important contribution to logistical crisis management in Germany.

Important cargo (photo)
Opportunity seized (photo)

Opportunity seized

Munich Airport uses the collapse in international air traffic brought on by the coronavirus pandemic to maintain the rail system. For the first time ever, necessary runway repairs are performed during the day instead of at night and under heavy time pressure, as usual. The south runway is closed entirely for about three weeks at first. The north runway follows shortly afterward. The full closure shortens the period needed for repairs and reduces costs considerably.

Timeline: a year of crisis

With worldwide travel restrictions in place, passenger traffic at Munich Airport grounds to a near complete halt in the second quarter of 2020. Passenger volume falls 98 percent from the previous year. The number of take-offs and landings decreases by about 92 percent during this period. April and May 2020 mark the bottom of the trough, with passenger figures at only about one percent of the previous year’s numbers. After a slight recovery during the summer months, the situation deteriorates again in the fall and winter. With numerous restrictions and travel warnings in place, the airport posts a historic low at the end of the year, with just eleven million passengers having flown to and from Munich in 2020.

Massive decreases in passenger numbers

  • January 29

    Lufthansa and many other European airlines halt flights to and from China

  • March 13

    All Lufthansa transatlantic connections from Munich suspended

  • March 16

    Travel restrictions and border closures cause a collapse in European air traffic

  • March 24

    Restricted entry from all non-Schengen countries; Terminal 2 satellite closed

  • April 29

    Terminal 1 closed

  • June 15

    Blanket travel warnings for EU and Schengen-associated countries lifted

  • July 8

    Terminal 1 partially opened

  • July 25

    Testing centers for arriving passengers opened at MAC

  • August 8

    Tests required for passengers arriving from high-risk areas in the non-public sector

  • Starting in October

    Significant restrictions imposed in many EU countries, along with numerous travel warnings for tourist destinations around the world

  • October 5

    «Test & Fly» testing center established for departing passengers

  • November 24

    «Star Alliance Biometrics», a contactless and therefore hygienic check procedure involving facial recognition, makes its debut

  • December 1

    Terminal 1 closed again, flights reduced to minimal operations

Massive decreases in passenger numbers (photo)

«The past year has shown that in spite of a crisis of historic proportions, we can maintain the level of a five-star airport and respond quickly to changing overall conditions. Through a change in thinking and by being flexible and making sacrifices and compromises amid this unsettled situation, all employees have helped to stabilize the company and fulfill our promise of quality even in these challenging times.»

Andrea Gebbeken

Guide to safe travels

In June, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, names Munich Airport one of the pilot airports that provide a good example of safe travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These international airports were recognized for exemplary implementation of the recommendations developed by EASA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Guide to safe travels (photo)
Covid-19 test center (photo)

«Overcoming the coronavirus crisis will be a marathon, and it isn’t over yet. High standards for protecting the health of employees and customers are our top priority. Second, orderly resumption of operations. Third – and this is especially important to me as the CFO – continuing our cost-cutting measures.»

Thomas Weyer

Managing the crisis

The challenges Munich Airport faces as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are multifaceted. Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) is overcoming these obstacles through a structured and coordinated approach, especially by responding early on and establishing a coronavirus task force in February 2020. This crisis task force, comprising managers from the relevant units, is tasked with ensuring ongoing assessment of the situation. Based on a holistic risk assessment, it maps out actions to guard against risk at the business level, ensures that airport operations could continue, and makes all necessary preparations to resume air traffic.

  • Scale down

    • Establish crisis organization
    • Safeguard employee health
    • Minimize economic impact
    • Scale down operations and take measures to safeguard the business
  • Stabilize

    • Airport in minimal operation
    • Ensure operational safety and reliability and stable basic supply levels
    • Actions geared toward liquidity
    • Focus on critical processes
    • Preparations for resumption of activity
  • Ramp up

    • Gradual resumption of air traffic
    • Adjustment to changed circumstances
    • Structured follow-up considerations

Fighting the virus together

Munich Airport adopts an extensive package of infection protection measures in response to changes in overall conditions in order to continue to ensure safe travels. Coronavirus testing centers for travelers entering from high-risk areas are established in both terminals. The opening of the «Test & Fly» COVID-19 testing center for departing passengers in October marks the second step, providing PCR test results in just three to six hours. In mid-November, Lufthansa trials two daily «tested flights» between Munich and Hamburg. Passengers and crew are tested immediately before departure using a rapid antigen test and are only allowed to fly if they tested negative.

As part of its extensive hygiene and disinfection concept, Munich Airport tests innovative techniques including mobile cleaning robots that use UV light to disinfect areas and rooms.

Fighting the virus together (photo)

An accelerating trend

The crisis catalyzes the use of digital tools: Where a normal working day before the coronavirus crisis might have seen 170 people working from home, the number soars to as many as 1,000 on peak days, with remote workers using digital conference and organization tools.


  • 6,890 distance markings on seats
  • 870 hygienic partitions
  • 50% reduced capacity for bus transfers
  • 9,180 floor markings
  • 580 hygiene notices posted in restrooms
  • 140 Disinfectant dispensers at important points of contact in the terminals
  • Every 15 minutes multilingual hygiene announcements over the PA system
  • 640 digital signs featuring hygiene information

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