Munich-Riem Airport
Munich-Riem Airport was the main, international airport of Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 until it was closed down on 16 May 1992, the day before the new airport near Freising commenced operation. It was located near the old village of Riem in the Munich borough of Trudering-Riem
Trudering-Riem is the 15th borough of Munich, consisting of the districts Trudering and Riem....



Construction on the airport started in 1936. The first plane landed on 25 October 1939, signalling the beginning of air traffic. At this time, it was one of the most modern airports in the world. It replaced the airfield located at Oberwiesenfeld (now the site of the Olympic Village
Olympiapark, Munich
The Olympiapark in Munich, Germany, is an Olympic Park which was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Found in the area of Munich known as the "Oberwiesenfeld" , the Park continues to serve as a venue for cultural, social, and religious events such as events of worship...


In World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, it was home to Adolf Galland
Adolf Galland
Adolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland was a German Luftwaffe General and flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western and the Defence of the Reich fronts...

's legendary Jagdverband 44: Squadron of Experten. It was almost completely destroyed by bombings on 9 April 1945. Up until that day, civilian air traffic had also been handled in Riem during wartime. George Raffeld of the United States Rainbow Division was the first of the allied forces to arrive at the airport. He reported to his superior officers that the airport had been abandoned by the Germans.

After the end of the war, Munich-Riem was the first airport in Germany to be used for civil aviation
Civil aviation
Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial. Most of the countries in the world are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization and work together to establish common standards and recommended practices...

. Post-war operations started on 6 April 1948 with the landing of a DC-3 operated by Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991...


On 12 October 1949, the Flughafen München-Riem GmbH (Munich-Riem Airport Ltd.) was founded. Wulf-Dieter Graf zu Castell became one of its managing directors.

The airport's runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

 was lengthened to 1900 metres (6,234 ft) in November 1949.

On 6 February 1958, an Airspeed AS 57 Ambassador
Airspeed Ambassador
The Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador was a British twin piston engined airliner that first flew on 10 July 1947 and served in small numbers through the 1950s and 1960s.-Design and development:...

 charter plane crashed soon after take-off. The accident (known as the Munich air disaster
Munich air disaster
The Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958, when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the "Busby Babes",...

) cost the lives of 23 people including eight football players from Manchester United
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

. There were 21 survivors. The British pilot, James Thain, was initially blamed for the disaster after investigators claimed that ice on the wings had caused the take-off attempt to end in tragic failure. However, Thain was finally cleared of any responsibility for the crash in 1969, by which time he and his family had suffered numerous incidents of verbal abuse, hate mail and even death threats from people accusing him of causing the crash. The cause of the crash was ultimately established as slush on the runway; there had been no ice on the wings.

Two years later, on 17 December 1960, a Convair C-131D Samaritan operated by the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 crashed shortly after take-off, killing all 20 passengers and crew on board as well as 32 people on the ground.

On 29 October 1958, the first jet aircraft
Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as . At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft...

, a Sud Aviation Caravelle
Sud Aviation Caravelle
The Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle was the first short/medium-range jet airliner produced by the French Sud Aviation firm starting in 1955 . The Caravelle was one of the more successful European first generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with...

 operated by Air France
Air France
Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

, landed on the runway that had been lengthened by further 700 metres (2,297 ft).

In 1962, more than one million passengers had passed through the airport.

As early as in 1963, the Öchsle Commission initiated a search for a new airport location as it was obvious that further extension would not be legally or politically possible. Constructing additional runways parallel or perpendicular to the existing one would require relocating a number of nearby communities. A number of accidents further encouraged the decision to build a new airport further away from the city and to close down Riem.

In October 1965, a new maintenance hangar
A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. Most hangars are built of metal, but other materials such as wood and concrete are also sometimes used...

 for jets, that had been built at a cost of DM 10 million, was put into operation and transferred to Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...


In 1969, the Flughafen München-Riem GmbH was renamed Flughafen München GmbH. The main runway (07R/25L) was upgraded to its final length of 2804 metres (9,199.5 ft).

In 1971, a new arrivals hall was put into operation, the total passenger throughput having attained 4 million.

On 31 December 1972, the long-time managing director Wulf-Dieter Graf zu Castell retired.

31 July 1982 saw a bomb attack on the departure area for passengers to Israel. Seven people were severely wounded.

By 1991, the airport had served twelve million passengers. At that time, it operated beyond its intended capacity, and an efficient taxiing
Taxiing refers to the movement of an aircraft on the ground, under its own power, in contrast to towing or push-back where the aircraft is moved by a tug...

 system was no longer possible. In order to continue the operations, preliminary annexes to the terminal were built, including a special hall for charter flights.

During the night from 16 to 17 May 1992, operations moved to the new location near Freising
Freising is a town in Bavaria, Germany, and capital of the district Freising. Total population 48,500.The city is located north of Munich at the Isar river, near the Munich International Airport...

. The IATA airport code
IATA airport code
An IATA airport code, also known an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association...

 MUC and the ICAO airport code
ICAO airport code
The ICAO airport code or location indicator is a four-character alphanumeric code designating each airport around the world. These codes are defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators.The ICAO codes are used by air traffic...

 EDDM were transferred to the new Munich Franz Josef Strauss Airport.


During an interim time after the move, the remaining facilities were used as a venue for large events such as concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

s and rave
Rave, rave dance, and rave party are parties that originated mostly from acid house parties, which featured fast-paced electronic music and light shows. At these parties people dance and socialize to dance music played by disc jockeys and occasionally live performers...

s. Riem was well known internationally in the techno
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988...

, alternative
Alternative culture
Alternative culture is a type of culture that exists outside or on the fringes of mainstream or popular culture, usually under the domain of one or more subcultures...

, and rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 scenes. For example, the last concert of the rock band Nirvana
Nirvana (band)
Nirvana was an American rock band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987...

 was given there on 1 March 1994. On 17 June 1994, the Ultraschall techno club opened in the former kitchen of the cafeteria.

The transformation of the former airport to the Messestadt Riem
Messestadt Riem
Messestadt Riem is the youngest borough of the City of Munich, build on the area of the former Munich-Riem Airport....

(Convention City Riem) with a name-giving convention centre, apartment houses and parks was one of the largest projects in urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 of the City of Munich in the late 1990s and at the beginning of the 21st century. The only structures that remain of the airport today are the tower
A tower is a tall structure, usually taller than it is wide, often by a significant margin. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires....

 and the original terminal building, the Wappenhalle (hall of the coats of arms). Both structures are protected monuments. Moreover, a small stretch of the former runway still exists at the eastern end. In 2005, the former airport was the site of the Bundesgartenschau
The Bundesgartenschau is the biennial Federal horticulture show in Germany. It also covers topics like landscaping. Taking place in different cities, the location changes in a two-year cycle....

(Federal Horticultural Show).

External links

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