Munich now Europe’s 6th busiest airport, overtaking Rome; decision on 3rd runway to be made in June
Munich airport is Lufthansa’s 2nd largest base in Germany after Frankfurt. A third runway has been proposed for the airport and last week, a variety of supporters from across the political and business spectrum got together to promote the benefits of an additional runway. A decision is due in June as to whether the airport can proceed with its plans. Campaigners are getting organised to oppose the planned building of a new 3rd runway at Munich. The case for a new runway there is weak because the existing runways are nowhere near capacity, most of the flights from Munich are domestic so could transfer to rail, and there is very low unemployment in the area.
Anna Aero 15.3.2012
Anna Aero article at:
Fast-growing Munich Airport wants to grow even more with a third runway. While the decision will be made in June, political and business supporters showed their support of the project at a press event last week. Posing with the banner [there is a photo on the Anna Aero article] were Bernhard Loos, Citizens’ Initiative for Runway 3; Josef Schmid, CSU leader in Munich city council; Alexander Reissl, SPD leader in Munich city council; Michael Mattar, FDP leader in Munich city council; Michael Kerkloh, CEO Munich Airport; and Manfred Rothkopf, Munich and Upper Bavaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Last year, passenger numbers at Munich Airport grew by an impressive 8.8% to 37.8 million (despite the introduction at the beginning of the year – 2011 – of the government’s so-called ‘eco-tax’ – see below), enabling it to overtake Rome Fiumicino as Europe’s 6th busiest airport. However, it seems likely that the Bavarian airport will slip back to seventh in 2012 as Istanbul’s Atatürk airport was busier than Munich in the second half of 2011.
With Munich now firmly established as Lufthansa’s second hub, the German flag-carrier accounts for over 60% of scheduled seat capacity and 65% of all scheduled flights at the airport. With subsidiaries Austrian, germanwings and Swiss accounting for a further 3% of capacity, Lufthansa’s dominance at the airport is clear.
A third runway has been proposed for the airport and last week, a variety of supporters from across the political and business spectrum got together to promote the benefits of an additional runway. A decision is due in June as to whether the airport can proceed with its plans.
airberlin is the second-busiest carrier at the airport with around 9% of seat capacity, competing with Lufthansa on several domestic routes, as well as offering a range of leisure destinations. germanwings and Condor each account for less than 2% of scheduled seat capacity while the busiest non-German airline serving Munich is easyJet with just 1.5% of seat capacity, spread across routes to four destinations in the UK; Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Stansted and Manchester.
Scheduled capacity relatively flat this summer
Based on analysis of OAG schedule data, it would appear that scheduled capacity at Munich airport this summer is relatively unchanged from last year. A snapshot comparison of seat capacity by country market for the first week of June in 2012 compared with the first week of June 2011 shows that half of the top 15 are showing a year-on-year decline in capacity, while half are showing growth.
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 4 June 2012 and w/c 6 June 2011
Capacity reductions of more than 5% appear to be occurring in the domestic market as well as on routes to Austria and the UK. However, six of the top 15 country markets are registering capacity growth of more than 5% with UAE (+24%), Romania (+14%) and Turkey (+12%) leading the way. The capacity growth in the UAE market has been achieved by Emirates choosing to operate an A380 on one of its two daily frequencies.
German aviation tax
The Netherlands had its own, yearlong experiment with an aviation tax, but revoked it in July 2009 after it saw Dutch hubs like Maastricht Aachen Airport lose passengers to rivals in neighboring countries, including Germany.
The levy cost Dutch airports, airlines, and related businesses between 1.2 and 1.3 million euros in lost revenue, according to a study by Amsterdam Aviation Economics, a research institute affiliated with the University of Amsterdam. [They claim German travellers are not choosing to go to airports across the border in Austria or Holland, to avoid the air passenger tax].
The German aviation tax is at €8 per one-way flight within Europe, €25 for medium-haul services to the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and €45 for long-haul flights. The tariff only applies to flights originating in Germany. The German Finance Ministry reported the duty raised €434 million euros in revenues in the first half of 2011.
[Compared to the UK Air Passenger Duty, which after April 2012 will be £13 for a return journey within Europe, £65 for a trip between 2,000 and 4,000 miles, then £81 and £92 in the higher distance bands].
However, for travelers, the tax can double the total cost of a bargain ticket. That has driven Irish budget carrier Ryanair to cancel some of its services from Weeze Airport and add flights at Maastricht. Meanwhile, rival airline Germanwings has launched a service linking Maastricht to Berlin 12 times per week.
No to Third Airport Runway
Around 7000 people converged on Marienplatz on Saturday to oppose the construction of a third runway at Munich Airport.
Organisers ‘AufgeMUCKt’ claimed the event, the first of two such planned demonstrations, was a resounding success and highlighted public opposition to the airport expansion. They are hoping to acquire 27,000 signatures for a petition to force a referendum on the issue in the Bavarian State Parliament.
Various Green Party politicians spoke at the demonstration and urged Munich citizens to stand behind their push for a public debate on the matter.
Munich Airport expansion approved despite opposition
Published: 26 Jul 2011
Proponents of a bigger Munich Airport have cleared a major hurdle: Bavarian officials have approved the construction of a third runway to increase the capacity of Germany’s second largest air hub.
Expected to be finished by 2015, the expansion would allow 120 planes to take off and land at the airport per hour instead of the current 90.
The approval comes as airport officials hope to turn Munich into a major hub on par with Germany’s largest, Frankfurt Airport. But it is facing steep opposition from some residents and conservationists who are backing lawsuits to stop the expansion.
The airport says it’s sticking close to its current ambitious plans. By 2025, officials hope to play host 58 million passengers each year instead of the current 35 million. That would put it level with where Frankfurt stands today.
Klaus-Peter Siegloch, president of the Federation of German Aviation Industry (BDL), called the runway expansion indispensable.
It would ensure that “tens of thousands of people at the Munich hub find work,” he said.
Proponents of the expansion say there are safeguards in place to appease critics. Flights on the third runway will only be allowed between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm. And the airport is offering to pay property owners affected by airport noise market value for their property.
But expansion opponents AufgeMUCkt (a play on words using Munich’s airport code MUC) said its concerns, which include excessive noise and environmental destruction, are not being addressed.
Debate over a possible airport expansion has gone on for about six years. About 85,000 complaints from citizens and more than a dozen municipalities have been registered during a lengthy consultation process.
People concerned about the airport’s plans can still lodge complaints until November.
Munich could become a German Heathrow if local opposition manages to block 3rd runway plans
John Stewart and some other campaigners recently visited Germany, to see the current protests against airport expansion there. John has written about their visit. He says campaigners are getting organised to oppose the planned building of a new 3rd runway at Munich. The case for a new runway there is weak because the existing runways are nowhere near capacity, most of the flights from Munich are domestic so could transfer to rail, and there is very low unemployment in the area. Visiting Frankfurt, they attended one of the regular Monday evening protests. The movement there driven by the concern about climate change, have brought together a first-rate coalition of environmental activists, local residents, sympathetic politicians and academic experts. They are a considerable force to be reckoned with.