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Waiting at Fraport

June 26

Written July 9

Dear Friends and Family,


Finally, Marianne was coming back from America. She was flying into Frankfurt and I had to drive up from Pommersfelden, but that's a trip I have done often. The logistic concern was that the drive can be two hours or as much as four, depending on traffic and I certainly didn't want to be late. The solution was to drive up very early and kill time at the Frankfurt airport, known locally by the corporate name "Fraport".

The check-in areas were normal, hundreds of folks wandering around. Not very interesting. However, on one of the lower levels of the airport, I ran across a kiosk offering airport tours. Why not? I have flown in and out of FRA for twenty years, so I needed to get The Back Story. Here it is.

The tour is by bus, with a good-natured and animated tour guide. Of course the tour jabber was all in German, so I'm not sure I appreciated his jokes, but the tone was clear and friendly.

The guide started with a series of facts about the airport: opened in 1936, third-largest in Europe and 9th largest in the world, largest workplace in Germany with over 73,000 workers including 270 firemen. Parking for 200 planes. Terminal 3, which will open in 2016, will add 85 more plane gates and will be connected to Terminals 1 and 2 with a tram.

Out on the taxiways, our guide explained a bit about every airplane, from the huge Boeing 747 to the even larger Airbus 380.

Lufthansa's new A380 seats 525 passengers in three classes, over 100 more than the current B747. (A new B747-800 is scheduled for delivery later this year and it will essentially match the Airbus.

I won't try to repeat all the factoids our guide fed us, but I will end with an endorsement of the tour. If you have an hour to kill and like airplane and airport trivia, give it a try.


In my case, I had even more than an hour to kill so my next excursion was across a walking bridge to the long-distance train station and the massive new building just being finished above it: The Squaire.

The train station has not been functionally altered and it has always been a convenient connection to elsewhere in Germany. Now, however, the upper level leads off to a new office complex.

It is hard to get a sense for how big the nine-story building is. The brochure says 660 meters long (2,100 feet) and containing 140,000 square meters (over a million and a half square feet) leaseable space. All this is wrapped in a futuristic curved skin.

OK, now I had killed my three hours and it was time to welcome Marianne back to Germany, after seven weeks in California. That's what I did but I was too busy for pictures.

Next diary: a big party.





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