Fraternity in

The German airport operator Fraport and the Lufthansa Group are developing a shared vision for the future at Frankfurt Airport’s Terminal 1. Porsche Consulting’s support for the strategic transformation includes ideas and examples from other industries.


Friendship game: The interview at the Frankfurt Airport office of Porsche Consulting ends with managing directors Dirk Schusdziara (left) and Jörg Harnisch at the management consultancy’s table soccer.Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch

Frank­furt Air­port is the largest in Ger­many and a key hub for inter­na­tion­al trans­port. It is one of the world’s top 20 take­off and land­ing sites for the civil avi­a­tion sec­tor. Its oper­a­tors need the qual­i­ty of their ser­vices to com­pare well with those of their col­leagues in other great cities around the globe. Every­one who goes through an air­port can see for them­selves how pas­sen­ger ser­vices are set up. And these ser­vices work best when air­port oper­a­tors work close­ly togeth­er with air­line com­pa­nies. Hand in hand, with shared goals. After all, pas­sen­gers ben­e­fit when flights run smooth­ly and con­ve­nient­ly despite dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies being respon­si­ble in the air ver­sus on the ground. Far more atten­tion should be paid to this idea—in the inter­est of cus­tomers, but also to enable the busi­ness­es involved to work togeth­er more prof­itably in the future.

At Ter­mi­nal 1 in Frank­furt, the future is already here. Check-in coun­ters are being mod­ern­ized. Secu­ri­ty check­points are being equipped with new CT sys­tems that auto­mat­i­cal­ly scan carry-on bag­gage for solid and liq­uid explo­sives. The depar­ture area offers secu­ri­ty slots that pas­sen­gers can book in advance online to reduce stress­ful wait­ing times to five or ten min­utes at most. All of that is just the begin­ning. By work­ing togeth­er, the Fra­port AG air­port oper­a­tor and Lufthansa as the largest Ger­man air­line want to opti­mize their ser­vices and process­es and enhance what they offer cus­tomers. This new vision for the future is expect­ed to ben­e­fit everyone—from tourists and busi­ness trav­el­ers to the air­port oper­a­tor and the airline.

The FraAl­liance joint ven­ture was launched in the sum­mer of 2022 to facil­i­tate close col­lab­o­ra­tion in oper­a­tions at the Frank­furt trans­port hub. Fra­port and Deutsche Lufthansa each hold a 50 per­cent share. The idea for the ven­ture had arisen around three years ear­li­er. It was refined and expand­ed, and then put into prac­tice. Dr. Pierre Dominique Prümm, Fraport’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Avi­a­tion and Infra­struc­ture, calls it a rapid and pow­er­ful enter­prise “that lets us merge our mutu­al inter­ests.” Jens Rit­ter, CEO of Lufthansa Air­lines, empha­sizes its goals. “We want to offer our guests a reli­able, punc­tu­al, and first-rate trav­el expe­ri­ence,” he says. “With its inno­v­a­tive and future-ori­ent­ed mea­sures, our part­ner­ship will deliv­er con­sid­er­able added value.”

This strate­gic alliance is firm­ly focused on meet­ing cus­tomer expec­ta­tions and ensur­ing depend­able infra­struc­ture, sta­ble process­es, and value-cre­at­ing ser­vices for all parts of the jour­ney, which in turn are expect­ed to yield new sources of rev­enue. The two man­ag­ing direc­tors of FraAl­liance have ambi­tious plans. Accord­ing to Jörg Har­nisch, pre­vi­ous­ly Head of Process Improve­ment at the Lufthansa Group, “We want to make the trav­el expe­ri­ence more attrac­tive for each and every guest—and to make the air­port more prof­itable over­all.” Dirk Schus­dziara, for­mer­ly Fraport’s Senior Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mer­cial Affairs, Ter­mi­nal Man­age­ment and Cor­po­rate Safe­ty and Secu­ri­ty, sums up the col­lab­o­ra­tion as fol­lows: “The air­port is learn­ing to think like an air­line, and the air­line like an airport.”

“The airport is learning to think like an airline, and the airline like an airport,” says FraAlliance managing director Dirk Schusdziara. He was previously Fraport’s Senior Vice President for Commercial Affairs, Terminal Management and Corporate Safety and Security.Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch

The com­plex­i­ty of the envis­aged trans­for­ma­tion is already appar­ent in how indi­vid­ual trav­el­ers get to the air­port. One might arrive by taxi, anoth­er by train, yet anoth­er by plane, and some­one else in their own car. All want the right kind of recep­tion cou­pled with guid­ance to their destination—as sim­ply and smooth­ly as pos­si­ble. Improv­ing Frankfurt’s mobil­i­ty hub means fur­ther devel­op­ing its busi­ness oper­a­tions, infra­struc­ture, inter­modal­i­ty, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. As Schus­dziara explains, “Every­thing we do revolves around the customer.”

Improv­ing the process­es and prod­uct offer­ings through­out all stages of the pas­sen­ger jour­ney will also boost the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the site. An early suc­cess­ful exam­ple of the joint venture’s activ­i­ties is the Lufthansa smart­phone app, which informs users in real time of wait­ing peri­ods at secu­ri­ty check­points. Anoth­er exam­ple is the pre­ci­sion analy­sis and opti­miza­tion of pas­sen­ger flows, which will short­en con­nect­ing times for around a mil­lion trav­el­ers a year by elim­i­nat­ing dupli­cate secu­ri­ty checks. Con­nect­ing pas­sen­gers, who often have lit­tle time to spare, make up 60 to 70 per­cent of trav­el­ers at the Frank­furt hub.

FraAlliance managing director Dirk Schusdziara (left) and Porsche Consulting partner and aviation expert Claus Lintz in the Terminal 1 departure hall. They want passengers and visitors to have a positive experience from the moment they arrive at Frankfurt Airport.Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch
“For many people from around the world, Frankfurt Airport is their gateway to Germany,” says Dirk Schusdziara. The halls will soon also be hosting cultural events.Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch
Management consultant Lintz (left), managing director Schusdziara, and their teams are analyzing all the contact points for passengers and visitors. Their aim: greater convenience, enhanced quality, and an outstanding reputation.Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch

The improved ser­vices at Ter­mi­nal 1, which is used exclu­sive­ly by Lufthansa and its part­ner air­lines in the Star Alliance, are expect­ed to be fully oper­a­ble by late 2023. In addi­tion, FraAlliance’s medi­um-term goal is to turn this major air­port with its approx­i­mate­ly 1,100 daily take­offs and land­ings, 500 bus depar­tures, 150 train depar­tures, and a good 140,000 pas­sen­gers into a “small town” with an array of attrac­tive offer­ings includ­ing shop­ping, leisure activ­i­ties, and con­fer­ence facil­i­ties. That will also enable Frank­furt Air­port to strength­en its pro­file. “We want to become even bet­ter hosts,” promis­es Schus­dziara. There is no short­age of ideas. Why not have con­certs at the air­port? The­ater per­for­mances? Par­ties? “Every pas­sen­ger and non-pas­sen­ger should feel wel­come and at ease with us,” says Schus­dziara. “Vis­it­ing the air­port should be an enjoy­able expe­ri­ence. And not just once.” Frank­furt Air­port is more than an inter­na­tion­al hub with long-dis­tance rail and munic­i­pal pub­lic trans­porta­tion con­nec­tions. “For many peo­ple from around the world, it is their gate­way to Germany.”

As with many trans­for­ma­tion projects, data land­scapes lay the foun­da­tions for the work by FraAl­liance too. Fra­port and Lufthansa have there­fore com­bined and ana­lyzed select­ed data sets from their respec­tive com­pa­nies. Shar­ing knowl­edge about pas­sen­ger flows is a cru­cial part of the alliance. It is the only way to pro­vide cus­tomers with indi­vid­u­al­ized ser­vices. Around 450 busi­ness­es are locat­ed at the air­port, and the IT land­scape inte­grates these ser­vice com­pa­nies and sys­tem part­ners in order to enhance multi-dimen­sion­al solu­tions too—such as “door-to-door jour­neys from a sin­gle source.”

“We’re no longer playing on our own but instead are members of a team,” is how FraAlliance managing director Jörg Harnisch describes the new airline/airport joint venture. He was previously Head of Process Improvement for the Lufthansa Group.Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch

For Jörg Har­nisch, these are exam­ples of the new ways of think­ing and act­ing at Frank­furt Air­port. The found­ing of FraAl­liance was a turn­ing point, he says. “We’re no longer play­ing on our own but instead are mem­bers of a team.” That’s clear dur­ing a short break when the part­ners play table soc­cer at the air­port office of Porsche Con­sult­ing. The end of the game presents a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask about the man­age­ment consultancy’s role in this strate­gic trans­for­ma­tion. “For us,” replies Har­nisch, “Porsche Con­sult­ing is all about under­stand­ing our cus­tomers, and about a self-moti­vat­ed drive to con­stant­ly keep try­ing to improve.”

Management Consultant Claus Lintz:

“Pleasant surprises on the way to boarding the plane”

At the initiative of Porsche Consulting aviation expert Claus Lintz, Frankfurt Airport now has a “lab gate”—a section of the departure hall where innovative offerings can be tried out in practice. Porsche Consulting/Marco Prosch
Three different perspectives have been part of the FraAlliance project from the start. “The first is what travelers will need in the future,” explains Claus Lintz, Partner in the Aeronautics and Aviation division at Porsche Consulting. This view through the eyes of airport customers leads to the second perspective, namely, “What are the services the airport can and wants to offer its guests?” And finally, the project also incorporates a third perspective: “How do we run the company as a whole to make it as profitable as possible?” Game changers and quick wins are both in the cards when it comes to raising efficiency and revenue, Lintz adds. In their search for answers, the FraAlliance partners have been open to thinking well outside the boxes of their respective companies. Prompted by Porsche Consulting, outside experts were brought in, including a development specialist from the Amazon corporation. “Ideas from completely different industries revealed surprising new approaches,” reports Lintz. “For example, the notion of pleasant surprises. Why shouldn’t we be offering our airport guests something they themselves haven’t even realized they’d like to have? After all, online retailers expose us to this phenomenon on a regular basis.” Intriguing ideas for future airport experiences also came from talks with the European head of Walt Disney Imagineering and the creative director of the Hamburg-based Europe-wide ECE shopping mall operator. The management consultants integrated the insights from other sectors into a number of workshops for discussion and evaluation. As Lintz observes, “That produced a program with many different individual initiatives.” As co-CEO of the FraAlliance, Harnisch sees the benefits here. “Porsche Consulting’s strength lies in coming up with suggestions that are all realistic—ones you can actually put into practice.” One example is the “lab gate,” a special departure area right before a gate, which serves as an experimental field for innovations such as rotating pop-up stores and regional offerings. “It lets you run trials to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Lintz. He is convinced that the FraAlliance has what it takes to become a role model for airports throughout the world. “This joint venture lays the groundwork for making the gateway to Germany more attractive for people from every country. In doing this we have to ask questions like these: What type of impression do we want Germany’s largest airport to give its guests? And what services do passengers and visitors need and expect from a mobility hub like Frankfurt Airport?”
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