A bit of history. IATA Welcomes Decision on Frankfurt’s 4th Runway. January 2009

Frankfurt’s international airport has been cleared for expansion by Hesse’s Administrative Supreme Court. The airport can soon begin to build a fourth runway north of the current airport perimeter with an opening date of 2011.  It will only be used for landings. Fraport and main operator Lufthansa also have to deal with the court’s preliminary statement that the planned night flight restrictions are not far reaching enough. A 3rd terminal is planned.


16.1.2009   (IATA press release)

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today welcomed the
decision of the Hessen State Court to approve the construction of a fourth runway
and Terminal 3 at Frankfurt’s Rhein-Main Airport.

“This is an important decision for Germany because a strong, competitive aviation
sector with the right infrastructure supports employment and economic growth,”
said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA.   “However, while the
decision on expansion is welcomed, the proposed restriction on night flights is
not. Frankfurt is a global hub that needs global connectivity. Severe restrictions
on night flights constrain international cargo operations and will hurt economic
growth. This should be reconsidered in a future court ruling.”

“Aviation takes its environmental responsibilities seriously with a vision for
carbon-neutral growth en-route to a carbon-free future,” said Bisignani.   “Our
track record is good. Aircraft are 70% more fuel-efficient and 75% quieter than
they were 40 years ago. And the global fleet is getting even quieter and more
fuel efficient. In the first 11 months of 2008 1,037 new aircraft – with improved
fuel efficiencies of 20-30% – were delivered while 881 inefficient old aircraft
were parked. All of these improvements will contribute to a 4.5% drop in emissions
in 2009 and minimise the environmental impact of aviation in Frankfurt and worldwide
in the future.”

Notes for editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising
    93% of scheduled international air traffic.



see also


Aviation Week       16.1.2009

Frankfurt To Get Fourth Runway With Limits

Frankfurt’s international airport has been cleared for expansion by Hesse’s Administrative Supreme Court.

The airport can soon begin to build a fourth runway north of the current airport perimeter with an opening date of 2012.

But Fraport and main operator Lufthansa also have to deal with the court’s preliminary statement that the planned night flight restrictions are not far reaching enough.

Frankfurt airport has been trying to expand for many years. Its growth rates
have been below industry average because of the capacity limits. Lufthansa transferred a significant part of its long-haul growth to Munich, now its second hub. The fourth runway will only be used for landings to take into account noise abatement.

It will nevertheless enable the airport to increase hourly movements from around 80 to over 120.

Ground work is planned to begin as soon as early February, according to Fraport plans.

The airport also wants to open a third main terminal on the South side of the airport in 2012.

It is not clear yet who will use the facility, but Lufthansa is expected to
remain in the main terminal 1.

A final decision on the night curfew will be made separately. But the court indicated that it will likely not uphold the currently planned regulation. The regional government wanted to allow 17 movements between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. in spite of the fact that in a previous agreement with communities it had promised a total ban on night flights. Lufthansa has applied for a total of 41 nightly movements, mainly for its subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that while it welcomed the decision to expand, “severe restrictions on night flights constrain international cargo operations and will hurt economic growth. This should be reconsidered in a future court ruling.”

link to article



see also

USA Today

Frankfurt airport gets approval for additional runway, 3rd terminal


FRANKFURT, Germany — Frankfurt’s international airport got a green light from the regional government to add another runway and build a third passenger terminal at what used to be a U.S. military base, an official said Tuesday.

Alois Rhiel, the economic minister of Hesse state, said he signed off on the
expansion plans by airport operator Fraport AG. Fraport shares were up 1.4% to $78.34 after the decision was announced.

The proposals have drawn the ire of some residents living near the facility who feared another runway would result in more overnight flights, creating additional noise.

But in giving approval to the project, Rhiel said a gradual restriction in overnight flights would be introduced that ultimately would permit just 17 flights between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., but still permitting up to 150 flights between 10-11 p.m. and 5-6 a.m.

Priority would be given to cargo flights taking precedence over passenger and charter flights.

Critics, however, had sought a complete ban on such flights at the airport, which is a key cargo hub for European flights, and outbound flights to Asia and the Americas.

Rhiel defended the decision to scrap a complete ban of nighttime flights, saying it was necessary in order to uphold the rights of a carrier such as Lufthansa, which is based in Frankfurt and therefore legally allowed to fly after hours.

“The divergence from Fraport AG’s proposal was mandatory under the law,” said
Rhiel. “A formal, legal ban on nighttime flights would otherwise not be possible,
nor would an official, legally binding plan limiting the nighttime flights.”

That plan foresees reducing to 150 the number of flights allowed to take off
and land between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. It will be formally submitted early next month to Fraport and the surrounding communities, who will then have the opportunity to challenge it by filing a lawsuit.

“All further decisions will have to be made by the administrative courts,” Rhiel said. Fraport said a legal decision regarding the expansion is due from the administrative court in Kassel next year.

As such, no construction will take place until that court concludes its proceedings next year, Fraport chief executive Wilhelm Bender said.

“Fraport will rely on the court rulings enabling good prospects for the future,” the company said in a statement, adding that pending such a ruling, the fourth runway is expected to be operational no later than 2011.

“‘Frankfurt is coming’ is the message we are sending to world markets — where more than 150 airports currently have expansion projects,” Bender said.

The airport is the third busiest in Europe behind London’s Heathrow and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and has been seeking the expansion for years, referring to the process as a “national task.”

Bender said that an “important step on the road to Frankfurt Airport’s urgently needed expansion” had been taken, and said that the $5.76 billion expansion project would lead not only to more jobs in and around the airport, which is within minutes of Frankfurt’s city center, but enable the airport to successfully handle more and more passengers.

In 2006, more than 52.2 million passengers flew in and out of the airport on
489,406 flights.

Currently, the airport has three runways, all 4,000 meters long, or 13,123 feet, with one used only for takeoffs. The fourth runway will stretch 2,800 meters, or more than 9,186 feet, and be dedicated to arriving flights.

The third terminal, said Robert Payne, a Fraport spokesman, will be built where the Rhein-Main Air Base used to be.

The U.S. military handed the base, once a hub of activity for American forces
facing Soviet bloc forces and tensions in the Middle East, over to Fraport in
December 2005.