High standards for safe flight operations
The European Union has set common standards for airport planning, operation, and maintenance, and FMG is obligated to implement these standards on a binding basis. Munich Airport’s operating license is directly dependent on renewal of its EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification, which was granted in December 2017. Under this certification, the airport must demonstrate constant compliance with relevant requirements to the responsible supervisory authority, the South Bavarian Aviation Office at the District Government of Upper Bavaria. We have a safety management system as one way to achieve these aims. Through the system, the airport continuously monitors ongoing flight and handling operations with an eye to risks and trends in order to identify targeted actions early on. To meet the requirements, we make structural changes in the infrastructure relevant to flight operations or to the operational and organizational processes in keeping with EASA specifications, utilizing safety risk assessments and compliance checks in the process. This approach helps to minimize potential accidents and thus to continuously and actively improve the safety of flight operations.
Biotope management provides protection from bird strikes
Collisions between aircraft and heavyweight birds or flocks of birds can endanger the safety of flight operations. We use a special biotope management to prevent possible collisions:
- The nutrient-poor meadow areas are mowed only twice a year, as long grass makes it difficult for predatory birds to find prey. Swarming birds, in turn, avoid these areas because of the lack of visual contact with each other.
- The terrain on and around the airport is unattractively designed for bird species that pose a critical risk.
- The drainage channels near the runways are spanned by steel ropes in order to make access difficult, particularly for waterfowl.
- The wildlife management team at the traffic control department monitors the bird population at the airport grounds and in relevant biotopes within the vicinity in order to ward off potential dangers from bird flight movements at an early stage. If necessary, it takes action to scare away birds.
We work closely with the relevant partners and institutions on the topic of bird strike prevention, particularly with the airlines, German air traffic control, regional and higher-level authorities, and DAVVL (the German Bird Strike Committee). DAVVL statistics have shown a comparatively low wildlife strike rate for Munich Airport for many years. In 2022, it was around 19 percent higher on average in Germany than at the Munich airport site.
Wildlife strike rates
Effective protection against flooding
The existing watercourse system protects Munich Airport from flood runoff, which occurs on average once every hundred years. In recent years, it has rained more frequently in flash floods throughout Germany due to climate change – sometimes with devastating effects. This development prompted us to review flood protection at the airport. An initial study in 2019 showed that Munich Airport is well protected from extreme flooding from the south, even during flash floods.
In a second step, we reviewed drainage reliability within the airport in 2021 and 2022, taking into account possible overloading of the sewer system. In the process, we hydraulically investigated the runoff situation during rare, extreme precipitation events and evaluated the results. We also regularly check the performance of the sewer system to ensure proper drainage. When constructing new buildings, we generously design the wastewater pipes and infiltration systems to accommodate rainfall events with a return period of ten years. Decentralized rainwater management and flood-resistant site planning are also important measures for us to minimize the impacts of flooding as much as possible.
The Munich Water Management Office had the Isar river remeasured and flood discharges calculated in 2019. During this process, the experts determined that the existing flood protection dikes along the Isar River in the airport’s sphere of influence can also hold back extreme flooding.