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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Frankfurt Opens Second Air Terminal

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Frankfurt airport, Europe's No. 1 cargo hub and second only to London Heathrow in passenger numbers, opened its new Terminal 2 on Monday in a move to siphon traffic from its crowded UK rival.

"We now have the capacity to take us comfortably into the next century," said Frankfurt Flughafen Main AG chairman Wilhelm Bender at the terminal's inauguration ceremony.

A Cathay-Pacific Jumbo from Hong Kong touched down early Monday and taxied to Terminal 2, the first of thousands of flights which will use it, helping Frankfurt's passenger numbers rise to 40 million by 2000 from 32 million now.

"We're expecting around 4 to 5 million passengers through Terminal 2 next year," airport spokesman Klaus Busch said. "It can handle 12 million passengers and can be expanded," he added.

Frankfurt is gearing up to attract more international passenger and cargo flights as London's key Heathrow and Gatwick airports near saturation point.

A recent study by the British Air Transport Association, BATA, said Heathrow and London Gatwick would be forced to turn passengers away by 2000 and London's total airport capacity would be exhausted by 2012.

Frankfurt is still behind the study's estimated demand for Heathrow at 110 million passengers by the turn of the century.