Munich Airport's measures against the Corona impact

A special task force at Munich Airport is putting measures in place to ensure the health and well-being of our guests and employees, and get through this crisis economically.

March 20, 2020

What measures has Munich Airport put in place, to navigate through the crisis and to ensure business continuity?

Munich Airport (FMG), established a special task force (Sonderstab "Corona") on top management level which met initially and now holds telephone conferences twice a week to guarantee an airport-wide exchange between all critical stakeholders and functions. The task force is also in close contact with the local authorities and submits regular reports to the executive management and our supervisory board.

We introduced a special emergency management dashboard, which provides an overview of the current political and health situation across the world on the one hand and key figures and performance indicators of FMG on the other hand. Any decision taken by the task force will be implemented across the group of companies and its impact assessed on a regular basis.

At the outset of the crisis each operational department reviewed its emergency plans and assessed the effect of COVID-19 on their processes. Then contingency measures were defined and implemented at increasing levels in line with the spread of the disease and the growing impact on operations.

In order to reduce costs and to maintain a sufficient level of liquidity, the executive board passed a program of mitigation measures, which includes for example a re-evaluation of planned investment, an immediate cut-down of non-essential expenditures, an immediate stop of recruitment and a review of the work time policies as well as an assessment of possible governmental aid programs (e.g. short-time work).

Deserted terminal at Munich Airport
Due to the Coronavirus, most areas of Munich Airport are deserted. © Flughafen München GmbH
Information on Coronavirus prevention measures at Munich Airport
Munich Airport calls on guests and employees to actively protect themselves against the Coronavirus. © Flughafen München GmbH

Immediate plans to shut-down significant parts of the airport infrastructure like sections of Terminal 1 and the Terminal 2 Satellite facility which are no longer required because of the severe reduction in passenger numbers have been developed. All shops which offer non-essential supplies and convenience items were closed. Only the supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and drugstores remained open. At the same time the airport turned into an aircraft parking lot where more than 100 aircraft of different airline customers wait until ramp-up of operation after the crisis.

Apart from the task force what other measures has Munich Airport implemented?

The health of all guests, employees and partners is a top priority for Munich Airport. The task force is in close contact with the health authorities (i.e. Bavarian State Office Health and Food Safety Authority) as well as other government authorities to secure a continuous flow of information and close coordination of measures. Munich Airport implemented the general ruling of the Bavarian Department of State for Health and Care, which amongst other arrangements means the closure of all retail shops and restaurants. Moreover, FMG continuously increases the awareness of the required hygiene standards by means of posters and screens in all areas as well as on the website and social media.

Employees can find all important facts and background information for the correct course of action regarding the Coronavirus on the intranet. Key measures include the reduction of business trips to an essential minimum and the usage of web conferencing tools for meetings with clients and partners instead. Staff canteens were closed but take away food is still available for staff on duty.

Administrative staff were encouraged to work from home to reduce physical presence in the offices. Those who remained in operational backoffices were split into shifts taking turns in physical presence. The biggest challenge was to ramp up the IT network and cyber security capacities to enable the multifold increase in remote work. In addition, all personnel are asked to forego private/holiday trips to risk regions. And our medical team installed a service desk with 24/7 hotline for answering any questions or concerns regarding the health risks that staff may have.

Although there is a worldwide travel restriction/warning, planes are still landing and taking of at Munich Airport. Why?

As a result of travel restrictions imposed by countries all over the world most commercial flights are suspended by airlines. Hence, thousands of German citizens abroad were not able to get back to Germany. Following this situation the German Federal Foreign Office organized return flights for those stranded people. Many of these flights arrived at Munich Airport in the last days. Besides, there are still a few commercial flights remaining as part of a “minimum flight schedule” that some airlines offer for urgent travel needs. And last but not least our cargo handling team is busy with additional freighters coming in to maintain the global logistic chains up and running.

How will this pandemic affect the travel industry long-term?

No one can say right now how much longer this crisis will last and what to prepare for. We are lucky because we concluded 2019 on a very successful note and our financial backing is stronger than ever. However, 2020 will be a very difficult year for all of us in aviation and the impact will be more severe than it was during previous downturns like in 2001 or 2008. On the other hand we have also learned a lot from handling those crises. We have successfully adjusted our business model every time and we are convinced that air mobility will be a key driver of globalization and economic stabilization once the travel bans are lifted. In fact, it is now also the time to think beyond the end of COVID-19 and to move into a pole position for the time when business picks-up again.

For more information and a statement of Jost Lammers, President and CEO of Munich Airport, please view the latest press release focusing on the current crisis.

Aircraft parking at Munich Airport due to Corona
More than 100 aircraft which had to be taken out of operations by airlines are currently parked at Munich Airport. © Flughafen München GmbH