Frankfurt airport temporary ban on night flights between 11pm and 5am

A court in Germany has ruled that Frankfurt airport cannot have any night flights,
after 30th October, between 11pm and 5am.  The total ban will stay in effect until
the German Federal Administrative High Court in Leipzig can weigh in on the decision.
Lufthansa Cargo says the ban will kill off its business, which has 11 of the total
17 night slots, and uses 8 – 10 of them. They want 23 night movements by 2020.
A new Frankfurt runway is due to open on 21st October.

Frankfurt night-flight ban a threat to German trade, claims Lufthansa Cargo chief

by David Badger

20.10.2011  (IFW)


The ban on night-flights at Frankfurt Airport from 30 October is a drastic signal
for the German logistics industry, claimed Lufthansa Cargo (LC) Chairman Karl
Ulrich Garnadt today.

He said: “The ban has forced us to lay on a timetable, which in part is economically
and ecologically absurd.

“We will be operating with unnecessary take-offs and landings, which will lead
to more noise, higher fuel consumption and more costs running into millions.”

And a blanket night-flight ban threatened to sever Germany from the global trade
lanes, said Garnadt.

“Closing the world’s seventh biggest airport for six hours each night and thereby
decoupling it from the international goods flows constitutes a severe blow to
the air traffic industry. No other transport mode is subject to such operational

Last week’s ruling from the administrative court in Hesse was issued only days
before the introduction of the winter flight schedules.

LC has put together an emergency timetable for the period after 30 October. A
number of flights have had to be re-located to daytime slots or to the early and
late hours of the day. Some individual connections – to China, for example – have
been cancelled.

Other flights bound for China would have to stop over at Cologne/Bonn Airport
for several hours after an evening departure from Frankfurt so as to fly on, as
originally planned, at night-time in the direction of the Far East.

And, said the carrier, from January, at least one MD-11 freighter is to be transferred
from Frankfurt to Cologne/Bonn Airport to operate the “indispensable overnight
flights for the German logistics industry to North America”.

Garnadt said he was still hoping that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig
(the supreme court of appeal) would allow a minimum of necessary night flights
in its final ruling.

He said: “In the coalition agreement, the Federal Government highlighted the
importance of competitive operating times at German airports. I firmly assume
that the Leipzig court will reach a commensurate balance between the economic
necessities of the exporting nation Germany and the interests of local residents.”

Garnadt added: “German airlines have in recent years succeeded in steadily reducing
noise emissions. That achievement should be recognised in any decision on the
issue of operating times at German airports.”

link to article


see earlier

German court halts night flights at Frankfurt Airport

11.10.2011  (Air Cargo World)

The Hesse Administrative High Court in Germany has ruled to ban scheduled nighttime
flights at Frankfurt Airport starting October 30. The total ban will stay in effect
until the German Federal Administrative High Court in Leipzig can weigh in on
the decision.

A night-flying compromise had initially been proposed by the Hesse court, which
allowed the airport to operate 17 flights between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. This reduction
in night flights was the price imposed for allowing Frankfurt workers to build
a new runway.

Detractors next demanded a total night ban, and the Hesse court passed the complaint
to Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. Before the high court could
issue a ruling, Hesse decided to make night flying illegal at Frankfurt.

Fraport’s Robert Payne, in an interview with Air Cargo World, said the Hesse
decision has “caught a lot of people by surprise.” The superior court ruling will
still take precedent, but although its decision could overturn the lower court’s
verdict, the ban stays in place until a final result is determined.

“It remains to be seen how the German Administrative High Court will decide,”
Payne said. “We don’t know exactly when their decision is coming.”

On Tuesday, Fraport released an official statement about the ban, outlining the
challenges carriers now face. “Implementation of this decision means cancellation
of some internationally coordinated slots already allocated to the airlines, and
there remain only 19 days until the start of the new Winter 2011/12 flight schedule,”
the statement read. “This creates a very difficult situation for the airlines,
the cargo shippers, Fraport and, of course, the passengers, and it has implications
for the worldwide network of flight connections.”

Payne looks at the ban as the price of adding a new runway, which he said will
eventually increase movements at the airport by 50 percent. “This is very significant
for us and for our customers,” he said, though he does allow that the nighttime
ban on flying presents a challenge to scheduled carriers, such as Lufthansa Cargo,
that depend on flying at night.

A total ban on nighttime flights will virtually kill off business for Lufthansa
Cargo, the airport’s prime freighter operator, according to representatives from
the carrier reached before the Hesse court’s decision was made public.

“The LH Cargo business model, in which we closely coordinate bellies and freighters
through Frankfurt, would no longer be profitable if an absolute ban were imposed,”
Lufthansa Cargo’s Nils Haupt said at the time.

Under the terms of the previous nighttime regime, Lufthansa Cargo had secured
a fairly generous allocation of 11 of the available 17 slots. That, according
to Haupt, would have been a poor long-term solution for Lufthansa Cargo. Eleven
slots, he said, equates to the airline’s current requirements on night movements.

“We are not talking about the existing situation, but the longer-term growth
of the cargo market,” Haupt said. “We have made a proven economic case to the
government that we will require at least 23 nighttime movements by 2020.”

LH Cargo officials previously hinted at moving the carrier’s freighter operations
away from Frankfurt entirely, but they admit there are limited alternative choices

“It has been suggested that we shift our operations to nearby Frankfurt-Hahn
Airport,” Haupt said. “But to do so would require us to operate an additional
30,000 annual truck movements to make the 120-kilometer connection between the
two airports, which are not linked by autobahn.”



Court stops night flights at Frankfurt airport

Reuters  11.10.2011 

A German court has banned night flights at Frankfurt airport for now, dealing
a blow to cargo operations at Germany’s largest airport just as it prepares to
open its new runway.

The administrative supreme court of the state of Hesse said the ban would take
effect just after the entry into service of the new runway, slated for October
21, and will only be used for landings.

The court said the ban would start on October 30 with the new Winter flight schedule.

Up until now, 17 movements — starts or landings — were permitted at Frankfurt
airport between the hours of 2300 CET and 0500 CET, mostly used for cargo flights.

Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) Chief Executive Christoph Franz had in August warned that
a night flight ban would hurt Germany’s freight market and benefit hubs in the
middle east, which are expanding rapidly.

Lufthansa Cargo until now had operated 8-10 of the movements each night and had
hoped to increase that to 11 once the new landing strip was opened. It said the
ban would cost it millions of euros and would result in flights being rearranged
or cancelled.

Shares in Fraport were down 1.7 percent at 44.52 euros at 1141 GMT, Lufthansa
was down 1.7 percent at 9.77 euros.

The court had said when it gave approval for expansion of the airport that it
wanted more restrictions on night flights.

Airport operator Fraport (FRAG.DE) had filed for a night flight ban in order
to get permission for the new runway and adjacent terminal and local residents
took legal action after the 17 night movements were allowed anyway.

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court will make a decision on night flights
at Frankfurt later this year, or at the start of 2012. Its decision will take
precedence over that of the Hesse court.



see also

Frankfurt Airport prepares to open new runway, eyes growth

Air Transport World    5.10.2011


Frankfurt Airport (FRA) will open its new runway 07L/25R Oct. 21, creating increased
capacity that has attracted interest from airlines wanting to start new services,
a Fraport executive told ATW this week at the World Route Development Forum in Berlin. 

“Slot requests for the winter 2011-12 schedule increased by 8%. We know from
experience that not all of this demand will turn into actual flights, but we can
confirm some major coups for the upcoming winter season,” communications manager-international
press Robert Payne said. For instance, All Nippon Airways will be deploying its
first Boeing 787 to FRA from Tokyo Haneda starting in January and Singapore Airlines
will start operating an Airbus A380 from Singapore to FRA, continuing on to New
York JFK, from January. Emirates has announced a third daily service to Dubai
and Continental Airlines will launch a second daily service from Newark, while
home carrier Lufthansa will resume Rio de Janeiro flights and launch several new
short-haul routes.  

The new northwest runway is FRA’s fourth and will increase capacity 50%, from
83 coordinated aircraft movements an hour to 126. Capacity will be gradually ramped
up and the plan is to grow flight movements between 4% and 7% annually.

With a length of 2,800 m., the new runway is shorter than the airport’s other
runways, which all extend over 4,000 m. It will be used strictly for landings
(bi-directionally) by aircraft smaller than the 747. Payne said, “We have been
operating at maximum [runway] capacity for some years but this is putting us back
in the ball game, big time.”

At present, 114 airlines offer 4,635 flights per week to 300 destinations in
110 countries from/to FRA. Passenger throughput was 53 million in 2010 and Fraport’s
goal is to eventually bring this to 90 million passengers annually.

The fourth runway is the first big cornerstone in FRA’s “Expansion 2020” program,
which also includes an expanded passenger terminal pier for Star Alliance carriers,
a new terminal and a major expansion of its cargo facilities and capacity. FRA
is Europe’s largest cargo airport. It is the third largest in terms of passenger
numbers, after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The new “Pier A Plus” is under construction and will have seven aircraft stands,
of which four can accommodate the A380. It has a design capacity of 6 million
passengers annually. It will open next summer and will be dedicated to Star carriers.

The new Terminal 3 will have the capacity to handle 25 million passengers annually.
The first stage of construction on that facility should begin by the end of 2016/early
2017. In line with the airport’s integrated terminal concept, FRA’s people mover
(or “Sky Line”) will be extended to Terminal 3, Payne confirmed.