Bit of background on Frankfurt airport politics
This is the Frankfurt theme song
Frankfurt song, which the protesters sing loudly at their regular Monday evening airport terminal invasions. With a very catchy chorus ”Unsere Forderung wird immer lauter Die Landebahn muss weg” means “Our challenge is getting louder. The Runway Must Go”.
News about Frankfurt Airport:
Fraport delays building of 3rd terminal building for better times
3.12.2012 (Apologies for bad translation from German). The construction of the third terminal of Frankfurt airport operator Fraport is waiting for better times. The date of the start of construction is still to be decided and it will be built when there is the demand. To handle the predicted passenger number of about 90 million in 2020, a new terminal section adjacent to Terminal 1 for an additional 6 million passengers opened on October 10, 2012, and a large third terminal for 25 million passengers is scheduled to be built beginning in 2013. Frankfurt is currently experiencing a stagnation of air traffic. It had forecast 4% passenger growth, but this is down to 2 – 3%. The number of aircraft movements decreased compared to the previous year by 4.6%. The new terminal will be built on the site of the former U.S. air base in the south of the airport. Full article in the original in German at
There is Frapedia page, in German, about the Frankfurt campaign and what they have been doing with protests since the opening of the 4th runway in 2011. This is at
and a (very bad !) translation by Google into English at http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=856
There is also a website campaign by Frankfurt Airport, to try and drum up support for its expansion. Its website is called Ya zu Fra! (Yes to Fra!) at https://www.ja-zu-fra.org/
The Frankfurt anti-runway campaign has done a detailed critique of this campaign, at http://www.frapedia.de/mediawiki/index.php/Ja-zu-Fra saying it is an initiative by Fraport, Lufthansa and Condor, with massive advertising and billboard advertising, through International PR agency Burston-Marsteller At a first major rally “Yes to questions” those attending were almost exclusively employees of the companies involved. Fraport’s special buses took them from the airport and back, with free travel. Many of the claims by Fraport are questionned.
German Protests against night flights
and dozens of photos of the German protests on 24th November 2012 at
Aircraft noise protest picnic with drums, bagpipes, cans etc outside main police station in Frankfurt
August 28, 2012
In their continuing protests against aircraft noise from Frankfurt airport, a group of protesters set up a noisy protest, picnic and barbeque outside the main Frankfurt police station for two hours at the weekend. They had not only African drums, but a variety of other noisy instruments, including bagpipes, and tambourines – petrol cans etc, with which to make a racket. The sound-scape they produced aimed to fight noise with noise – creating a cacophony rather than a melody, as a change from the roaring of jets overhead that they now have to endure at home In addition, on Monday they held their usual Monday evening protest (there is one every Monday night) with a new protest anthem. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt airport protesters have picnic breakfast in the peace, away from aircraft noise, outside airport boss’ house
August 20, 2012 About 20 protesters against the unacceptable noise caused by Frankfurt airport met on Saturday morning to set up their picnic breakfast outside the house of the Frankfurt Airport boss. His house is in a quiet area, not overflown, unlike theirs. They just wanted, on this warm, heatwave morning, to enjoy breakfast in peace outdoors – something they can no longer do in their own homes and gardens. There were no slogans or chanting, but just a peaceful breakfast. And there was no sign of the boss, Schulte, whose shutters remained resolutely closed throughout. Click here to view full story…
The coffee is hot, the peace heavenly
Frankfurt protesters take their “holidays” in the airport terminal with all their holiday kit
July 3, 2012 The usual Monday evening protest at Frankfurt airport, against the aircraft noise that Frankfurt residents to the south of the city are now subjected to, took a slightly unusual turn this week. Protesters went on “holiday” at the terminal for the evening, with holiday clothes, Hawaiian shirts, straw hats, beach chairs, picnics, and even a paddling pool. Earlier they had a sleep protest, saying it was quieter to sleep in the airport than in their own homes, under the flight path. There are loads of their “holiday snaps” that tell the story. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt airport protesters sleep in the airport terminal – as it is too noisy at home
June 30, 2012 Dozens of protesters at Frankfurt have held a sleep-in at the Departures Terminal at Frankfurt airport. Their protest is against the aircraft noise, which is causing an intolerable situation, and they say they cannot sleep in their own homes, due to noisy night flights. Their banners say “We cannot sleep at home: night flight ban from 10pm to 6am !” Many say their homes suffer 80 decibel noise at night, with 60 decibels indoors. Though there is meant to be a total ban on night flights between 23:00 to 05:00 almost every night there are late arrivals and departures or flight tests. The nights are not quiet. People say they cannot live on only 6 hours sleep per night, and that is not enough to perform properly at work or at school. Click here to view full story…
8,000 Frankfurt protesters form a 4 km human chain to show their opposition to aircraft noise
June 25, 2012 About 8,000 protesters linked hands to form a human chain along the bank of the Main river, which they see as the boundary between the south of the city, badly affected by aircraft noise, and the quieter north. This included a massive Mexican wave along the line. Those campaigning against the noise from Frankfurt airport are calling for the extension of the ban on night flights from 2300 to 0500 or 2200 to 0600 and a cap on aircraft movements. The huge and effective German protests against aircraft noise started at Frankfurt, after the opening of the 4th runway that opened in October 2011. Now aircraft noise is being seen not as a regional problem but a national German problem, and also a European problem. Citizen groups across Germany are collaborating with each other, and with those in other countries. Click here to view full story…
New AirportWatch BLOG. The German Spring Takes Off
15th June 2012 On the weekend that campaigners occupy the centre of Munich, John Stewart outlines the story of the nationwide protests against airport expansion taking place in Germany, at Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich. And the implications this has for aviation policy in the UK. At a time when the industry is pressing once again for a third runway at Heathrow, it likes to give the impression there is little real opposition to expansion in the rest of Europe. The German experience tells a very different story. “It is impossible at this stage to predict what will happen in Germany. Or in France. But the protests have almost certainly changed the landscape forever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to expand airports anywhere in Western Europe. That is the new reality that governments and the aviation industry have got to face up to.” Read the blog
Peaceful protesters clash with police in Frankfurt at departure of pro-airport Mayor
June 12, 2012 There have been peaceful, but noisy, protests in the centre of Frankfurt, against the expansion of Frankfurt airport. The protests happened in the city centre, outside St Paul’s Church were Chancellor Angela Merkel was attending the retirement ceremony for the Mayor, Petra Roth. Angela Merkel praised Petra Roth as being one of the most successful mayors in Germany. The Mayor has been in favour of expansion of Frankfurt airport and the new runway, which has been the cause of the new aircraft noise problem that so many Frankfurt citizens are suffering. This protest, by perhaps 1,000 people, who threw foam balls, let off sparklers and banged drums, was in addition to the weekly protests against the noise that take place at the airport. There were some scuffles with the heavy police presence. Click here to view full story…
Lufthansa to cut 3,500 jobs in savings drive – 2,500 in Germany
May 4, 2012 Lufthansa, Germany’s biggest airline, announced plans to slash 3,500 administrative jobs around the world as it tries to offset soaring fuel costs and fierce competition in Europe to return to profitability. It says these job cuts will reduce its administrative costs by a quarter. Lufthansa has a workforce of about 117,000 people worldwide but it needs to radically cut costs to remain competitive. About 2,500 of the planned job losses will be in Germany. The high fuel price,a weak global economy and competition for passengers with fast-growing low-cost carriers and Middle East airlines are the problem. Other European airlines have also done less well recently than expected. Lufthansa said it will only increase seat capacity by 1% this year, not 2%. Click here to view full story…
Noise ban provides nightmares for German airports and airlines but better sleep for campaigning residents
April 21, 2012 GreenAir online has a long and comprehensive article about what has been going on in Germany recently, with the huge protests at Frankfurt against the 4th runway, and against night flights – which have now been stopped over a 6 hour period. Also the protests at Cologne Bonn Airport where there is now a night flight ban. And protests in Munich against plans for a new 3rd runway. There will also be a 6 hour night flight ban at Berlin’s new Brandenburg International Airport when it opens in June. Airlines like Lufthansa are complaining, and claiming they cannot run an efficient and profitable freight operation without night flights being permitted. The German Aviation Assoc claims there are no such bans at Amsterdam, Paris, London or Dubai. But the German opposition has been very effecive and got results. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt night flight ban between 11pm and 5am upheld by higher court
April 6, 2012 A German court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a night flight ban at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third busiest, dealing a blow to German flagship airline Lufthansa and airport operator Fraport. Lufthansa says it needs Frankfurt night flights so its cargo operations can compete with fast-growing Gulf airports and it will be hit financially if there is a ban. In 2009 the local government said it would allow 17 flights between 11 pm and 5am from the end of October 2011 on economic grounds. Then residents under the flight paths took the case to court. Their complaint was upheld in October by a local court just before the opening of the 4th runway. Now a judge at a higher court in Leipzig confirmed the ban and said the federal state of Hesse must make a new decision on whether to allow night flights. This will have implications for other European airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle and Heathrow. Click here to view full story…
Thousands gather at German airports to protest against aircraft noise
March 27, 2012 On Saturday 24th, thousands across Germany – perphaps as many as 30,000 – took part in protests at airports, against airport expansion and aircraft noise. At Frankfurt airport there were around 10,000 people, wanting a night flight ban from 22:00 until 6:00 and a cap on the number of take-offs and landings each day. At Berlin there were about 10,000 protesters against the planned new Brandenburg airport. And at Munich airport, over 500 people had a picnic in the terminal, protesting against a planned 3rd runway, the decision on which is due in June. There were also protests at Halle, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Bonn and Cologne – as well as at Nantes. Click here to view full story…
Saturday 24th March: Tens of Thousands expected at Nationwide Protests against Airport Expansion in Germany
March 22, 2012 Same Day: Major demonstration in Nantes in SW France
UK airport campaigners have sent messages of support to their fellow campaigners in Germany and France who will be staging major demonstrations against airport expansion on Saturday 24th March. In Germany tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out in at least five cities. In Frankfurt as many as 20,000 people could occupy the terminal. And, in Munich the campaigners against the proposed 3rd runway will hold as picnic in the terminal. In Nantes the demonstrators will occupy the centre of the city. There will also be protests in Berlin, Cologne and Leipzig. This gives the lie to the impression always given by the UK aviation industry that airports in Europe will continue to expand. They will not do so without immense and powerful opposition. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt night flights between 11pm and 5am to be banned
March 15, 2012 The Frankfurt campaigners have won a partial night flight ban at Frankfurt in the teeth of opposition from the airlines and the regional government. The local government had allowed 17 flights per night between 11pm and 5am. The High Court has now ruledt ht there is a ban on all flights between 11pm and 5am. The number of hours of the ban is similar to the one that operates, in theory, at Heathrow (11.30 – 4.30) but it is a significant achievement for the campaigners. There can still be a total of 133 flights over the full period of 10pm to 6am – do during the periods of 10 – 11pm and 5 – 6am. The campaigners at Frankfurt say: “This Frankfurt decision will encourage you all at Paris, London and Amsterdam, but as well at Madrid, Barcelona and other airports of Europe. Frankfurt will be the first big Hub having a night flight restrictions!” Click here to view full story…
Munich could become a German Heathrow if local opposition manages to block 3rd runway plans
March 2, 2012 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. Click here to view full story…
Court ends Frankfurt Airport strike
29 Feb 2012 (The Local: Germany’s news in English) Striking workers at Frankfurt Airport must return to work after a court Wednesday slapped a temporary injunction on walkouts that have grounded flights at Europe’s third-busiest hub for two weeks. Judge Matthias Kreutzberg-Kowalczyk granted an application for an injunction filed by airport operator Fraport and German airline Lufthansa against walkouts by apron control staff, who have been striking since February 16 over demands for higher pay. The GdF union of air traffic workers said it would appeal the ruling, which obliges workers to call off industrial action that had initially been scheduled to run until Thursday. http://www.thelocal.de/national/20120229-41041.html
Aircraft Noise demos from Frankfurt to Berlin. Thousands of German noise opponents protest in several cities
February 4, 2012
There have been major protests at several German airports today, against aircraft noise, with whistles, drums and banners. There were about 20,000 protestors at Frankfurt protesting against noise from the new runway that opened in October. This was the largest protest at the airport since the opening . The police estimated the number of participants to 7,700, the organizers – a coalition of citizens’ groups against the airport expansion – spoke of 20,000 people. There were also demonstrations at Berlin, Leipzig, Munich and Dusseldorf. Click here to view full story…
The anti noise protests continue in Germany with much debate on the noise impact of airport expansion
February 1, 2012
Several articles from German news websites, badly translated in to English, but giving a feeling of what is happening in Germany, and how the protests against the unexpectedly bad noise produced by the new Frankfurt airport runway, opened in October, are having an impact politically. The Germans, in their thousands (and these are articulate and purposeful Germans protesting) are not going to put up with the new noise intrusion into their lives, and especially not at night, whatever Fraport (the airport) and Lufthansa say about the night flights being essential for business. The benefits are far less than the social harm the night flights are doing, and the ability to quietly enjoy their homes without a flight path overhead is not something that the residents near Frankfurt airport are prepared to lose. Click here to view full story…
Protests continue each week at Frankfurt against the noise from the 4th runway which opened in October.
A German airport campaigner – and local Frankfurt resident - reports from Frankfurt:
20.1.2012 Last Monday was manifestation number 7 after the opening of the new runway at the end of Oct 2011. We meet always Monday at 6pm , have our own microphones and speakers (with batteries) and are always between 2500 – 500 people. You are welcome at Terminal I Section B (=international flights) . It is a warm, well usable place, with toilets and high speed and local train communication.
Protest against aircraft noise: News from the Wutbürgern
Round Frankfurt, not only are the land prices are pretty lofty, but now so are the problems. It’s about airplanes, the roar high up over the gardens of the upper class and so the homeowners are up in arms. With the opening of the new north-west runway the aircraft noise is so unbearable that even distinguished people forget their upbringing and become vociferous protesters. (29.01.12) Video clip (in German) at http://www.spiegel.de/video/video-1175297.html
Bit of background about German politics and German airports, from a member of the Frankfurt campaign
Some laws depend on the Land (Hessen for the airport expansion in Frankfurt).
General law for air pollution and noise levels comes from the BUND (Berlin).
But the government in Berlin (Parliament=Bundestag / Merkel) cannot make or change any law which concerns the Länder (Hessen) without the agreement of the Bundesrat (second chamber).
The problem is that Merkel (CDU/FDP) can propose a law but she depends for its implementation on the Bundesrat/Länder in which she doesn’t have a majority (SPD/Grüne) anymore.
That is why in Hessen our Mr. Bouffier (CDU) and Mr. Posch (FDP), who are at the moment governing Hessen, are unable to use Berlin (CDU/FDP) to change a law which would concern Germany.
In other words, construction issues concerning Frankfurt airport can largely be decided by Hessen. That is why there is a stiff competition between Frankfurt and Munich airports. The airport witch the lowest level of restriction is the winner in this game. Lufthansa is using this by saying: “If you hinder us in Frankfurt we can go to Munich” (or Zürich, which is even worse).
Issues like general noise levels, and air pollution are national law (Luftverkehrsgesetz) and in principle the same for the entire country of Germany.
BUT they can only be changed with the agreement of the Länder. You can imagine the machinations going on behind closed doors.
In fact Germany is in the middle of a general change. People are totally disgusted by politics. That is why they now have a new party called “Die Piraten”, meaning “the pirates”.
Nobody understands actually what they are standing for, but people elect them as a protest against established parties. As they gain between 10 and 15% of the votes, it becomes very difficult for established parties to form coalitions.
That is why small changes in votes can provoke political landslides (in Frankfurt the CDU lost the election because of a change in areas near to the airport). In 2013 the same could happen to the CDU/FDP coalition in Hessen.
The Frankfurt campaigners recommend openly not to vote for these parties. Managers of FRAPORT and Lufthansa occasionally complain about shrinking support of these politicians for projects decided together earlier. The anti airport campaginers couldn’t be more delighted.
Frankfurt airport – protest continues
January 21, 2012
German article about the continuing protests most Mondays (first this year on 16th Jan) at Frankfurt airport, by hundreds or thousand, who are profoundly disturbed by – and opposed to – the new noise nuisance caused by flights from the runway that was opened in October 2011. The protesters include wealthy citizens, as well as students and environmental activists. Lufthansa is arguing that it should be allowed a large proportion of the night flights that are permitted. The matter goes to the Federal Administrative Court in March 2012 for decision. Click here to view full story…
Protesters at Frankfurt airport (picture archive from November 2011)
Big Protests in Frankfurt over 4th Runway
Every Monday over 1,000 people gather in Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport to protest against the impact of the 4th Runway which was opened on 21st October. The new runway has created noise problems for over 100,000 newresidents. 20,000 people took part in a demonstration the day before it opened. Although the authorities have (reluctantly) agreed to ban flights between 23.00 hours and 05.00 hours, a huge number of people are suffering as a result of the new runway. The runway was only built after a bitter battle with local residents and environmentalists. (sueddeutsche.de )
Protests against new runway at Frankfurt Wutbürger in Terminal 1
Lufthansa Cargo eyes replacing MD-11F fleet, predicts no growth in 2012
January 31, 2012 (Air Transport World)
Garnadt said he expects no growth in 2012. “Currently we are 10% down compared to last year. The demand is much weaker,” he said.
LHC’s 2012 profitability outlook was strong until last fall when Frankfurt Airport (FRA) announced its decision to ban night flights from Oct. 30, 2011. The ban, which affected 10 LHC nighttime slots in its winter schedule, cost the carrier €20 million ($26.4 million) in 2011 (ATW Daily News, Nov. 24, 2011).
Garnadt said if the court does not lift the ban, the carrier stands to lose €40 million in 2012. He said LHC had planned to lease two more freighters for the coming summer schedule but has “axed” those plans.
Garnadt said that if the court reverses the ban, the carrier will “switch some important night flights [back] to FRA from July.” He said that 50% of LHC’s business is high-value express cargo.
Links to some of the press and TV coverage of the demonstrations in Frankfurt where up to 5,000 people occupy the terminal every Monday in protest against the noise from the fourth runway. Some interesting video -sadly all in German. See below.
A bit of history. IATA Welcomes Decision on Frankfurt’s 4th Runway. January 2009
Frankfurt Airport Expansion Enrages Residents – December 2007
19.12.2007 Frankfurt airport, one of the world’s biggest hubs, has received the go-ahead to build a new terminal and runway. The regional government says the €4 billion expansion will create 40,000 jobs. But residents and environmental groups are furious at a decision to allow night flights, and plan a wave of lawsuits. Horst Schneider, mayor of the Frankfurt-area city of Offenbach, said the increased noise of aircraft landing and taking off will hit his community especially hard. “We will use all legal means, right up to the EU level if necessary,” he said. Schneider said some 150,000 people will be negatively affected by the expansion. Unlike protected animal species, people couldn’t simply be moved elsewhere, he said.(Spiegel Online)
Fernsehen und Radio (TV and Radio)
ZDF, Frontal 21: Ärger über Berlin-Schönefeld, 24.1.2012: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/#/beitrag/video/1550384/%C3%84rger-%C3%BCber-Berlin-Sch%C3%B6nefeld
ZDF, Mittagsmagazin: Streit um Hauptstadtflughafen, 24.1.2012: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/#/beitrag/video/1549816/Streit-um-Hauptstadtflughafen
HR, Hessenschau, Stadtverordnete tagen im Terminal 1, 24.1.2012: http://www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/nachrichten/indexhessen34938.jsp?rubrik=34938
SWR, Demonstration gegen Fluglärm, 23.1.2012: http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell-rp/-/id=233240/did=9185732/pv=video/nid=233240/tjjulc/
Sat 1: Diskussion um den Frankfurter Flughafen, 25.1.2012: http://www.1730live.de/
Presse zum Flughafen Berlin: