The airport – which is also known as Franz-Josef-Strauß airport – is located slightly outside the city to the north of Munich, and is Germany's second-largest airport after Frankfurt am Main. In 2017, the airport recorded almost 45 million airline passengers who took off or landed on a total of over 400,000 flights in Munich, sometimes up to 90 flights in an hour. This airport is very popular with passengers: in 2018, it was elected the “best airport in Europe” for the eleventh time. Munich is also the first European “five-star airport”, a title which is awarded as part of a strict audit carried out by experienced aviation experts for the quality of organisation, service, ambiance, cleanliness and comfort of an airport. The designation as an airport is actually not entirely applicable as it boasts not only an enormous world of shopping, but also a medical centre, a chapel and even its own brewery, so in fact it is more like a city which never sleeps.
More than 35,000 employees are required to keep this “city” working. Only 9,400 of them work directly for Flughafen München GmbH. Even if only flights with a special permit are allowed at night, there are numerous control rooms which are manned around the clock and which require suitable chairs – not only in the tower. Apron controllers monitor the traffic on the ground and ensure that the aeroplanes are able to securely move on the airfields. There is also a control room to transport baggage for up to 150,000 passengers each day. There, they always know which item of baggage can be found on a total of 50 km of conveyor belt and where it needs to go. The technical control room is responsible for technical operations management. It ensures the impeccable operation of all 300 buildings in the airport campus with approx. 30,000 rooms, 320 elevator systems, 350 escalators, 120 fire alarm systems and the fire extinguisher water system with over 1,000 km of pipe network and approx. 250,000 sprinklers. There are control rooms for airport security, corporate security and many other areas.
There is a visitors’ centre for anyone who would like to take a look behind the scenes of the airport. There you can learn everything about the history of the airport, experience modern and historical aeroplanes up close and find out a lot about the logistical processes which go on in the background. The level of fascination with the airport is also proven by the fact that the visitors’ centre was Germany's number one tourist destination for a few weeks after it opened – even ahead of Neuschwanstein Castle.