Cologne/Bonn Airport: Runways get new designators

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Cologne/Bonn Airport is giving two of three runways new names after over 60 years. The name of the Querwindbahn 06/24 remains the same.

From Thursday, April 18, 2024, the large lane is called 13L/31R and the small lane is 13R/31L. The large intercontinental railway has had its name since 1961, the small parallel railway has had its name even longer.

“The names of the runways in international air traffic are based on the compass rose. The number indicates the angle of the orbit in relation to the geomagnetic north pole,” explains the head of flight operations at Cologne Bonn Airport, Markus Moi, who is coordinating the renaming.

Because the Earth's magnetic field is in motion, the North Pole moves several kilometers every year. “This leads to minimal deviations in the decimal range, which are tolerated. However, if the deviation becomes too large, German air traffic control will decide on a name change,” explains Moi. The Querwindbahn, which was called 1954/07 when it opened in 25, was therefore renamed 2006/06 in 24. The renaming will not result in any changes to the arrival and departure routes. These remain identical.

The replacement of signs and markings started on time. Both runways will be served under their current names 14L/32R and 14R/32L until the deadline. The areas of civil engineering, flight operations, airport training center as well as geodata/documentation, safety & compliance and electrical engineering are involved in the complex renaming project during ongoing operations. An important partner is German Air Traffic Control (DFS).

Many processes at the airport will be adjusted as part of the renaming. The instrument landing system technology needs to be recalibrated. IT systems and meteorological systems require updates. The Aviation Manual AIP, the Aerodrome Manual and other documents are being updated.

Cologne/Bonn Airport (Photo: CologneBonn Airport).
Cologne/Bonn Airport (Photo: CologneBonn Airport).