On the parallel runway system, the operation direction is changed according to the prevailing wind direction and wind speed. Pursuant to the operating concept for the four-runway system at FRA, in normal operation the two outer parallel runways should be used for landings; both the central parallel runway and Runway 18 West should be used for takeoffs.
To make sure the runway is long enough for takeoff or landing, aircraft should always take off and land against the wind. With easterly winds the flight operations are always arranged from west to east. This is referred to as “eastern approach” in operation direction 07. Yet, the operation direction 25 with westwards flight operations (western approach) is always arranged from western direction. The name for the respective operation direction is derived from the orientation of the takeoff and landing direction. Taking the compass wind rose as an orientation aid, the designation “07 operation” is used for takeoffs and landings in easterly direction, since in this case arrivals and departures occur in direction rotated clockwise by 70 degrees relative to the north.
A long-term average of wind conditions for Frankfurt Airport and its surrounding area has shown that a westerly operating direction (operating direction 25) prevails in about 70 percent of the time. In approximately 30 percent of the time, aircraft are landing in easterly direction or in the 07 operation direction. When viewed for a short period of time only, deviations from the long-term mean may occur. Regardless of the operation direction, roughly 60 percent of the aircraft take off from Runway 18 West.
Departing from this principle is possible within the existence of a so-called tailwind component.