The anti noise protests continue in Germany with much debate on the noise impact of airport expansion

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.

( These are three badly translated articles from German news sites – translation not perfect !)

The noise needs an upper limit,1872,8462831,00.html?dr=1

21.1.2012   (Lander Spiegel)

Disillusionment in the Hesse state policy

by Peter Wagner, Wiesbaden

The euphoria of the opening speeches is gone: disillusionment and insecurity is spreading in the Hesse state government, since the new runway opened on the 21st October and is now in operation. The extent of the wave of protest has surprised everyone, ministers and MPs, airlines and Fraport, citizens and media.

For eleven years, it was clear where the new runway would be built and six years ago, the new routes were announced. But we have only had three months to hear and feel what the real expansion of the airport is like .
ZDF, Carmen Sauerbrei
Peter Wagner, head of ZDF Landesstudio Hesse

Protest is taking effect

Let me be clear: The overall traffic has not increased, and about the same number of planes take off and land as before.  But now the thunder of jets is an issue in Offenbach, Frankfurt and Mainz densely populated residential areas, where residents previously noticed little traffic. Above all, these “Neubetroffenen” – a questionable bureaucratic term that makes the rounds as now – make then angry, and thousands demonstrate each Monday in the terminal.  They want relief from the noise for residential areas that before were silent and happy.

The protest is taking effect. All of a sudden you look in vain at the Wiesbaden State Parliament and in the Hesse state government for voices that speak out against a night flight ban. Interior Minister Boris Rhein (CDU), now wants absolute silence of the night. He is running for mayor of Frankfurt as the CDU. Who here wants to see a link that looks correct. Its green counterpart candidate Rosemarie Heilig is even calling for the closure of the new ? runway?  All the Hessian politicians are now against noise.  Politicians need to take responsibility to act politically, and that means balancing interests fairly. And it means a politician standing by his word. The shift away from the mediation resulting in the absolute ban on night flights was a breach of faith.

Night flight ban must apply

Now the government accuses the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, because the Hessian administrative court had enforced the ban on night flights in 2009. The only way to give legal clarity, argues Minister Dieter Posch (FDP), and there are good legal reasons to believe so. Who does not believe it, apply to the major breach of faith, the need for any inconvenience.

Plane landing at Frankfurt Airport.  Source: AP

Plane landing at Frankfurt Airport

In April 2012, or at the latest in May, the judges at Leipzig will judge, and then there will be legal certainty. Can and must implement the regional government’s mediation result when they take their own demonstrations in recent weeks and seriously wants to create a new confidence. The ban on night flights is the basis of the permanent acceptance of the airport in the Rhine-Main region.

Future airport needs

The Frankfurt airport is the largest employer in Germany, with 70,000 people directly employed here, and countless companies depend on this international hub directly or indirectly. Quite a few of those protesting now use it regularly for both business and leisure travel.  It is irresponsible to the airport in principle to question it or to deny it any further development.

The message of the noise-stricken people has arrived in the Hessian policy, and the government must act. It has gone through all the political possibilities, and because the state of Hesse together with the city of Frankfurt, hold the majority of shares in Fraport AG, they also have all the business opportunities. Only if the airport is accepted by the people in this densely populated region, does it have a future and can evolve. The price is high, but unavoidable: a binding-noise limit.,1872,8462831,00.html?dr=1


Does Germany need new runways?,3672,8359097,00.html

Sociologist Kesselring: “Traffic statistics are always a bit misleading”

The Frankfurt Airport has opened a new runway and Munich also plans a runway extension. In the interview analyzed sociologist Sven Kesselring, the future of air travel. Are we really becoming more mobile?

  • 10/21/2011 The airport operator argued for the expansion due to rising passenger numbers. The opponents argue that would come only through the runway. Our world is actually mobile? Sven Kesselring: This can not really say that in general.Reduced mobility in everyday transportation, the new travel time. The Munich-Nuremberg rail line now takes two rather than three hours, that’s commuting distance. In tourism, there are ups and downs, but it is a consistently high level. 

Dr. Sven Kesselring is a sociologist and researcher at the Technical University of Munich in the interdisciplinary group project for mobility and transport, “mobil.TUM”. He is also a spokesman for the European “Cosmobilities Network”, which is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. One of his main topics is occupational mobility policy. Video conferences are no substitute?

“The ash cloud over Iceland was much offset by the new technologies. But after that the number of flights returned to normal immediately.”

Kesselring: This is a paradoxical story. The technical equipment for videoconferencing is available, but ultimately it is probably this: The more communication there is, the more reasons  there are for traveling there. You have to develop trust with clients and colleagues, the presence of local employees is still important. When the ash cloud over Iceland was much offset by the new videoconferencing technologies, the productivity loss was much lower than previously estimated.. But after that business went on immediately. It did not act as a long term substitute to travel in the long run. How much will limit the price of oil to air traffic?

Kesselring: The big break will definitely come from this. As long as oil remains affordable, changes are only relatively slow. If the prices come close to what oil is economically and globally worth, then you will need to quickly develop other routines. Whether that is fast enough,  one must be skeptical. The cost is a factor in business travel, but the discussion is relatively new, but the development process starts already. Is there a magic limit for oil prices?

Kesselring: No, it is also naive to calculate such things, these relationships are complex. For years oil was cheap but has now risen. Since we are now experiencing expensive oil, there has  been no significant reduction in car use. The limit is probably higher than we can imagine now, but it will affect not only the next generation. Will there be an electric plane? 

Kesselring: I can not imagine a plane with batteries. I’m afraid there are no technical alternative to oil.

Kesselring: I. In Sao Paulo and New York, the helicopter traffic has increased dramatically already. Down the street is the traffic jam – who has that money, flying over it. these customers are lost to the airports?

Kesselring: Not quite. The top elite sometimes have their own jet at the airport. We hardly notice, but it is a relevant market. An important market is the emerging economies. In Brazil can now afford to have people from the favelas using airlines. If you look at all these developments, then you need an expansion of airports such as Frankfurt or Munich?

Kesselring: The question is: Is the air traffic rising per se, or do we create it by building a new runway? Traffic statistics are always a bit deceptive. In retrospect, it is probably the right supporters – but without the new runway there would be no additional traffic. It is a political and social decision whether you want to let the volume increase. There is no right or wrong. And everyone knows proponents of aviation growth must take the ecological and noise impacts on local residents into account. If you ask me if I’m in favour or against expansion, I am still  not  decided. 


Aircraft noise opponents want to complain against Berlin routes


Federal Supervisory Office will determine procedure – proposed changes rejected


After much controversy because of fears of noise pollution the flight paths are being established for the new Berlin airport jets: the jets are on the Müggelsee in the southeast. Also, they will be to the southwest. The opponents want to complain now.

A complaint with the European Commission already prepared by attorney Wolfgang Baumann was announced shortly before the decision to the Federal Supervisory Office for Air Traffic Control. The Friedrichshagener citizens’ initiative and the “Green League” expect that the European Commission criticized the decision to route the flight path the federal government, because the environmental impact has not checked the flights over the recreation area of Müggelsee. The new airport at the city limits in Schönefeld is due to go into operation in June.

Review undertaken in operation

“Where an airport there is also aircraft noise,” said the director of the Federal Supervisory Office for Air Traffic Control, Nicholas Herrmann.  He agreed to evaluate the actual operation of the airport operations and to carefully examine them. This will be the basis for the decision, whether the planned air traffic can be  safely organized, and smoothly handled.

Berlin routes burden residents

There are plans for almost one and a half years protests of in Berlin and Brandenburg in the future.  Some are very different communities and neighborhoods than expected to be overflown. Amendments proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency do not take account of the route from the office setting.,3672,8465780,00.html