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Munich Airport Sets New Records for Passenger Traffic and Cargo

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Approximately 35 million passengers a gain of 6% over the previous year used Munich Airport during 2010.

With this new record, Munich continued to hold the number seven spot among Europe's top airports in terms of total passengers.

The booming traffic figures also boosted the business performance of FMG, the airport operating company. After depreciation and taxes, preliminary results show a record profit for the company of 125 million euros.

New records are also reported for the cargo segment, where the 275,000 tons of freight turnover represent an impressive 27% gain over 2009, which tops all previous increases both in percentage and absolute terms.

"After the global financial and economic crisis, we have begun posting substantial traffic increases much sooner than expected," said airport CEO, Michael Kerkloh.

The number of aircraft movements, at 390,000, was 1.7% below the previous year's figure. "This small decrease can be attributed entirely to the volcanic ash cloud and the other detrimental effects during the past year," explained Kerkloh.

The volcanic eruption in Iceland, which led to the shutdown of airspace for days, the heavy snowfall at the beginning and end of the year, and the pilot strike in February wreaked havoc on the flight timetable. In 2010 a total of about 15,000 flights had to be cancelled. Without these special effects, the number of take-offs and landings would actually have shown a 1% increase over the previous year's total, and the passenger total would have actually jumped by 9%.

The increased passenger demand was met in particular by Lufthansa and its partner airlines through the use of larger aircraft. The average maximum take-off weight of the planes operating in Munich increased from 68 to approximately 73 tons. During the same period, the aircraft load factor rose to a new all-time record of nearly 74%.

 With the elimination of smaller aircraft on European routes now nearly complete, the airlines are again relying more on the deployment of larger aircraft to cope with the continuing growth in passenger traffic. The first monthly results for this year confirm this trend: in January there was a 14% rise in the number of take-offs and landings and a 20% increase in total passengers as compared with the same month a year earlier.

The long-haul traffic segment at Munich Airport showed particularly strong gains: the 5.3 million passengers on intercontinental routes represented a nearly 16% jump over the previous year's total. Nearly 20 million passengers took advantage of the wide range of European destinations offered from Munich a 6% increase from 2009. Traffic on flights within Germany, at 9.3 million passengers, was up slightly by just under 1%.

The booming traffic figures and the substantially higher sales in the non-aviation segment for instance the airport's shops and restaurants are reflected in the financial results for 2010: Preliminary figures show a new record of 850 million euros in total revenues an 8% increase over the previous year.

Taking into account the subsidiaries, the group actually achieved total sales of 1.1 billion euros. The annual profit of 125 million euros will be utilised in full to repay the "old interest" on the shareholder loans, and will thus benefit the FMG shareholders, namely the state of Bavaria, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the city of Munich. Consequently, FMG has now paid back all unpaid interest on the shareholder loans.

Kerkloh praised the successful restructuring in 2010 of FMG's ground handling activities, calling it a decisive fresh beginning in the group's business policy. The heavy losses in ground services resulting from the opening of the market to private handling companies in this business segment have had a serious negative impact on the group in recent years. Now, with the ground handling business outsourced since the beginning of January to a 100% subsidiary with a competitive wage structure, these services again have a perspective for a successful future. "With the newly formed subsidiary AeroGround, we have set the stage for this business segment to regain its status as an asset of the FMG Group after a long period as a loss-making activity" said Kerkloh.

Thanks to the pleasing traffic trend, Kerkloh is optimistic about the prospects for the 2011 financial year. "We are expecting significant gains in passenger and cargo figures, and in the number of take-offs and landings."

To meet the requirements for continued traffic growth in the long term, FMG plans to push forward with its strategic expansion projects. This year it plans to start construction of a satellite facility for Terminal 2, which will offer additional handling capacity for 11 million passengers per year.

With the airport increasingly struggling to cope with traffic at peak periods, Kerkloh sees it as an urgent priority to move forward quickly with the construction of a third runway. "Munich Airport will have perspectives for long-term, sustainable growth only with the planned expansion of the runway system," he said.

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