The covid-19 pandemic is confronting the entire world with major challenges, and especially the aviation sector. This is also evident at Frankfurt Airport, in the form of dramatically reduced passenger figures. Over the long term, the global economy – including aviation – will recover and resume growing, and the construction of Terminal 3 therefore remains a key part of the plans for the future of the Frankfurt hub. But the huge construction site also has to adapt to the situation in order to continue making progress.
We’re managing to continue building while implementing appropriate security and hygiene measures. So the good news is that we’re still making progress on a broad front. But we’re definitely also feeling the impact of the pandemic. For example, the temporary closure of borders within Europe between March and May 2020 noticeably reduced the availability of materials and personnel for our contractors.
The restrictions put in place in response to the pandemic will cause delays in some areas. This will have repercussions on the planned completion of the main terminal building and Piers H and J in 2025, which has had to be postponed to at least 2026. But the work on Pier G has already advanced so far that it will be possible to finish the most important parts by the end of 2021 or early 2022 as originally planned.
We’re increasingly relying on digital and virtual communication among the construction managers, project coordinators, and involved planners. It’s working pretty well, although I do often miss the direct personal contact we used to have.
We’re working closely with our safety and health coordinators to make sure everyone follows the hygiene rules. There’s a specially created “taskforce” that monitors compliance, addresses critical issues, and develops and implements appropriate countermeasures. We’re also working constantly to raise awareness among all of our subcontractors, since ultimately they are the ones responsible for consistently implementing protective measures. We’re also cleaning the restrooms and meal and break rooms and other facilities used by personnel more often than before. Since we’re currently working hard on the carcass, a lot of the work is done outside in the fresh air in any case, which significantly reduces the risk of infection. Social distancing rules are also being followed.