Development of Munich Airport in Riem

The development of Munich airport from 1900 to 2000. Technical development, setbacks and political decisions of the airport in a 100 year review.
Munich-Riem Airport - from the grass runway to the modern, international airport

From the grass runway to the modern airport

Aviation has been an issue in Munich since 1920. The first aircraft took off and landed on grass runways in Oberwiesenfeld. However, it quickly became clear that this airfield would not meet the requirements of modern aviation in the long term.

A modern airport was thus built in Riem, which was badly damaged by the war years, but was quickly renovated after the end of the war. By the end of the 1960s, the modernized Munich Airport had grown to meet the requirements of Munich air traffic.

However, the 1972 Summer Olympics and the increasing need for package tours suggested that the airport in Riem would be too small. Initially, plans were developed to further expand the airport in Riem. However, the so-called Oechsle Commission quickly came to the conclusion that Riem will have no future and that a new major airport outside of Munich should be planned instead. For Riem, this meant compensating for the time until the completion of the new Munich airport with hasty “bridging construction measures” for the coming years, while at the same time the demand for flight capacities increased dramatically. Riemer Airport had to be held together with patchwork until the very end, until it could finally be "redeemed" in 1992.

Although the new Munich Airport in Erdinger Moos has already been generously planned, but had to be castrated due to public petitions (e.g. only 2 runways instead of 4), development has not stood still there for years. An airport never stands still!


Milestones of Munich Riem Airport

  • 03.05.1931
  • 01.06.1936
  • 11.01.1937
  • 25.10.1939
  • 01.03.1948
  • 22.11.1949
  • 16.06.1951
  • 25.10.1965
  • 13.06.1968
  • 05.08.1969
  • 09.08.1969
  • 11.08.1969
  • 01.12.1970
  • 21.04.1971
  • 26.04.1971
  • 26.04.1971
  • 03.06.1971
  • 03.11.1980
  • 16.04.1981
  • 09.12.1987
  • 15.11.1988
  • Opening of Oberwiesenfeld Airport

    On May 3rd, 1931, the first fully functional Munich Airport in Oberwiesenfeld was celebrated with a major flight day and almost 100,000 visitors.
  • Planning for a new airport in Munich

    The airfield in Oberwiesenfeld is bursting at the seams despite the expansion in 1931. In 1936, therefore, the planning of a new airport in Munich-Riem began.
  • Start of construction at Munich-Riem Airport

    Construction of the new Munich Airport in Riem has started, the airport should be completed just a year later - but as it turns out later: not initially for civil aviation.
  • New air airport in the state capital Munich

    From October 25, 1939, civil air traffic can begin in Munich-Riem. This primarily included the famous Berlin-Munich-Venice-Rome Alpine route.
  • Start of weather recording at Munich Airport

    On March 1st, 1948, the climate measurement and weather recording at Munich-Riem Airport began. Up until September 1949, the match observation and weather advice was carried out by American personnel, when the airport was handed over, the transition to weather forecasting was carried out by German meteorologists. Since March 1950 weather observations have been carried out in Riem. Sources:
  • Commissioning of the new runway

    On November 22, 1949, in addition to the airport restaurant with ballroom, beer parlor and sun terrace, as well as 10 new hotel rooms directly in the airport, the new 1907 meter long and 60 meter wide runway at Munich Airport went into operation. On the new runway, which was built using bituminous construction and hardened in a special process, [...]
  • Opening of the coat of arms hall at Riem Airport

    Originally, the Munich-Riem Airport, including the impressive reception hall, also known as the Wappenhalle, was to be officially opened on September 1st, 1939 - but this was prevented by the simultaneous start of the Second World War. After the end of the war, 70%s at the airport were destroyed, and the coat of arms hall was also badly damaged. For example, the roof of the coat of arms hall with the valuable coffered ceiling collapsed. In the absence of a functioning check-in hall [...]
  • Opening of the Lufthansa maintenance hall

    After a year and a half of construction, the new Lufthansa hangar, which was built primarily for the “Euro-Jet” (Boeing 727), is ceremoniously opened. The decision to build the Lufthansa maintenance hangar for jet aircraft, which cost around DM 10 million, was made in July 1963 by the Supervisory Board of Flughafen München GmbH; the architect was Rolf Zuleger. The 4 each 15m x 15m [...]
  • ADAC rescue helicopter stationed in Riem

    From June 13th to October 6th, 1968 the first ADAC rescue helicopter in Germany was in a test series at Munich Airport. The helicopter of the type Bell 206 A Jet Ranger was rented at the time from the company Süd Helicopter (today MHS Aviation Grünwald). In the machine, two patients could sit on normal stretchers, one above the other, across [...]
  • Munich Airport moves to Nuremberg

    These aircraft stairs are ready for departure at Munich-Riem Airport! Because from August 11th to August 31st 1969, i.e. for three weeks, Munich will be a cosmopolitan city with a heart, but without an airport!
  • General overhaul of the runway

    From August 11 to 31, 1969, Munich Riem Airport was completely closed to air traffic in order to rehabilitate the only concrete runway.
  • Bridging measures at Riem Airport

    The bridging work at Munich-Riem Airport will be completed by spring 1972. After it went into operation, according to planning, five to six million passengers could be handled at Munich-Riem Airport, which corresponded to a doubling of the previous handling capacity in preparation for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. In detail, the following measures had been carried out by then: New arrival hall Construction of a [...]
  • 1971: New arrival hall at Munich-Riem Airport

    The new arrival hall is part of the so-called bridging measures at Munich Airport, which were built in spring 1972 in preparation for the Summer Olympics.
  • Expert advice on planning reports for the new Munich Airport

    For five days (April 26th to April 30th, 1971) an international examination committee consulted at the invitation of Flughafen München GmbH on the planning reports for planning phase 1, which had been drawn up by six working groups of domestic and foreign engineering offices over the course of nine months . Planning phase 1 includes the creation of a land use and function plan for the site [...]
  • Departure hall abroad expanded

    As a further component of the so-called bridging measures at Munich-Riem Airport, the expansion of the departure hall abroad (waiting room A) was completed at the beginning of June 1971. The ground-level extension for international departure traffic covered an area of 1575 square meters. 6 gates were available, which enable the so-called "gate check-in handling system". This system provides that passengers without baggage who are already in possession of a [...]
  • Construction work begins on the new Munich Airport

    On November 3, 1980, construction work for the new Munich airport in Erdinger Moos began. But just 5 months later, work on the construction of the new Munich airport was stopped for over 4 years. On April 16, 1981, the Bavarian Administrative Court ordered construction to be halted because the planned space requirement for the new airport was too
  • MUCII - construction freeze for 4 years and hard times in Riem

    On November 3rd, 1980 the time had come: construction work for the new Munich Airport began in Erdinger Moos. But after just five months they were stopped again. The Bavarian Administrative Court (VGH) ordered a construction freeze on April 16, 1981, by revoking the "immediate enforceability" of the planning approval decision. Main reasoning of the court: There will be too much land for the new airport [...]
  • Decision on the construction of a new exhibition center on the Flughafen-Riem site

    In 1983, the last extensions to the Munich exhibition center on the Schwanthalerhöhe were carried out - further enlargement of the Munich Exhibition Center was no longer conceivable for reasons of space. In 1985, the then head of the trade fair, Werner Marzin, wrote a memorandum “On the situation and future prospects of the Munich trade fair center”. In the document, the former head of the trade fair describes "a healthy further development of the [...]
  • Terminal 2 opened at Riem Airport

    Since November 1988 Munich Airport has had a second terminal that was used exclusively for charter traffic.

Objects of the Munich-Riem airport