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Oct 1, 2012 - Building

Gates For The A380 At Frankfurt Airport

With space for up to 550 passengers, the Airbus A380 is currently the largest passenger airplane in the world. The dimensions of this long-distance aircraft pose new challenges for airport operators. At the Frankfurt Airport, for example, Fraport AG has created three gates especially for the A380 in the new Terminal C/D. In this new area of the airport, WAGO controllers regulate the lighting and control the escalators.

With more than 50 million passengers each year, the Frankfurt Airport is among the top ten largest airports in the world; it is number three in Europe after London-Heathrow and Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle. In order to accommodate growing demand, Fraport AG is constantly expanding the airport. This affects not just the new north landing strip, which went into service in October 2011, but also the terminals. The C/D connector, which links Terminal 1 with Terminal 2, offers space for four new building positions, of which three are specially designed for the long-distance Airbus A380.

Streams of Passengers without Traffic Jams

The huge number of passengers in the new long-distance aircraft also poses high requirements for the corresponding terminals. Passengers should still be able to board and deplane as quickly as possible and without traffic jams. Like the Airbus A380, the new terminals have two stories so that two-level boarding is possible. The passengers use three jetways to access both levels of the aircraft. The spaces at the gate have no intermediate walls, so they can be divided at will. The lower level handles the processing of economy passengers. In the level above, there is a Senator Lounge and a lounge-like business area. Lufthansa is using the new gates on the C/D connector exclusively.

“Especially important for the new C/D connector is that the passengers can board and deplane the aircraft without traffic jams,” says Stephen Leute, who as the acting Property Manager is responsible for technical building management. The specification that was created for the technical building equipment in the planning phase therefore includes the central requirement for the greatest accessibility. “If, for example, one of the staircases does not work,” according to Stephen Leute, “then an error message must be issued right away so that the employees can correct the error as quickly as possible.”

Communication via LON®

The automation systems in the electrical systems for the new terminal section should be able to work perfectly with the existing building control system. Since the control room, which is based on an ABB system, works with the LON® fieldbus system, the decision was made to implement the automation with LON® in this area. Used are a total of 180 WAGO LON® controllers, which together with the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM control the lighting and escalators in all areas of the new C/D connector. In total, the automation system manages more than 40,000 data points. All main distributors for the power supply are also monitored with the system. The network analysis systems by Berg Energiekontrollsysteme GmbH, which are installed in all main distributors, transmit the data to the WAGO controllers using a serial interface. From there, these are then transmitted via LON® to the building control system. The power supply data can also be displayed easily in the control room, so that personnel there can react quickly to disturbances.

Proven System

For the automation of the new terminal area, Fraport AG relied on a system that distinguishes itself through its high product quality in order to guarantee reliability. “The quality of the components and systems used was of crucial significance here,” is how Stephen Leute summarizes the positive experiences with the system.


  • 180 WAGO LON® controllers regulate all areas
  • WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM monitors energy supply
  • Quality of the components and systems of crucial significance

Text: Dr. Lantzsch, freelance journalist from Wiesbaden, WAGO
Photo: WAGO

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