In a country the size of Germany, it’s not surprising to note that there are several international airports you could use for your travels. Some are more often used by tourists than others, but the busiest airport in Germany doesn’t get its high traffic numbers by being the country’s top tourist destination.
Here’s more information about Germany’s major airports, including what airlines serve each one and a quick way to search for cheap flights to each individual airport. The first two airports are listed in order of passenger traffic, and after that the list is alphabetical.
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While Frankfurt isn’t usually at the top of most visitors’ must-see lists when they come to Germany, Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA) is the airport most people will fly into. Why? It’s the where mega-airline Lufthansa is based, so it’s often used as the first point of entry in Europe from overseas – even if your destination isn’t Germany at all. Frankfurt’s airport ranks only behind London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle in terms of passenger traffic in all of Europe, too. This is one busy airport we’re talking about.
In addition to being Lufthansa headquarters, Frankfurt Airport is also the main hub for Condor Flugdienst. Other airlines serving Frankfurt include Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Transat, Alitalia, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Flybe, Germanwings, Japan Airlines, Jet4you, KLM, Qantas, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TUIfly, United Airlines, US Airways, and XL Airways Germany.
As big as Frankfurt is in Germany, Munich Airport (MUC) isn’t far behind in terms of its passenger traffic. This is partly due to Lufthansa maintaining Munich’s airport as its second hub, but it’s also because Munich is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. Besides a large Lufthansa presence, other airlines serving Munich include Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Transat, Alitalia, bmibaby, British Airways, Condor, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Emirates, Germanwings, Jet Air, KLM, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TUIfly, United Airlines, US Airways, and Vueling.
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Thanks to its many years as a city split in two, Berlin still has two international airports – although both are far smaller in terms of passenger volume than Germany’s busiest airports in Frankfurt and Munich. There’s a third Berlin airport being build now, set to open in 2012, that will eventually replace the existing two. For now, however, your options for flying into Berlin are:
- Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) – Berlin Tegel is currently Berlin’s largest airport, and was one of two airports in West Berlin used for food and fuel deliveries. Tegel is a hub for Air Berlin and a focus city for Lufthansa. Other airlines serving Berlin Tegel include Air France, British Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Germania, KLM, and Vueling.
- Berlin Schonefeld Airport (SXF) – Schonefeld was the airport that served East Berlin during the Cold War era. It’s this site that will become the new airport in 2012. Schonefeld is a base for easyJet and Germanwings, and other airlines serving Schonefeld include Aer Lingus, Condor, and Ryanair.
The Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN) is Germany’s 6th busiest, and although Frankfurt’s airport is less than two hours away from Cologne by train, there’s a greater variety of low-cost airlines tha fly into Cologne-Bonn. In fact, easyJet, Germanwings, TUIfly, and Wizz Air all use Cologne-Bonn as a hub. Depending on where you’re flying from, that could be good news. Aside from the airlines already listed, others serving Cologne-Bonn include Air Berlin, Air France, bmibaby, Condor, KLM, Lufthansa, and XL Airways Germany.
Dusseldorf International Airport (DUS) used to be Germany’s 2nd-busiest airport until it was relegated to 3rd in recent years by Munich. Still, plenty of people pass through the airport in Dusseldorf each year – it’s the biggest airport in its region. Dusseldorf is a hub for Air Berlin and Lufthansa, and the foreign airline with the busiest schedule is Turkish Airlines. Other airlines serving Dusseldorf include Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Emirates, Flybe, Germania, Jet2.com, KLM, Scandinavian Airlines, TUIfly, and XL Airways Germany.
The Hamburg Airport (HAM) is the 5th busiest in Germany, although it isn’t a hub for any airline. Airlines serving Hamburg include Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air France, British Airways, Condor, Continental Airlines, easyJet, Emirates, Flybe, Hamburg Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, and TUIfly.
Stuttgart is another case (like Cologne) where Frankfurt, the country’s main airport, is less than two hours away – but Stuttgart Airport (STR) has some low-cost airline options that Frankfurt does not. Germanwings uses Stuttgart as one of its main hubs, and other airlines serving Stuttgart include Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air France, British Airways, Condor, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Flybe, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, and TUIfly.
photo by flickrsven