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Night flight Ban in Frankfurt Provisionally Upheld

The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has ruled that the night-flight regulation defined in the planning approval notice cannot be sustained. This means that the ban on night flights from Frankfurt will remain in force until further notice.

In a press release, the German airline Lufthansa stated that it feared severe long-term adverse effects for Frankfurt's position as an aviation centre. Christoph Franz, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: "Frankfurt, Hesse, and yes, even Germany, as an export and logistics nation, would have their wings clipped. This is a terrible blow to Germany's reputation as a place to do business and there is no doubt that one of Europe's largest hubs will fall behind in international competition."

"Nonetheless, in the additional planning procedure Lufthansa will again make the need for selected night-time flights clear," said Franz. Lufthansa was not given leave to appeal in the current proceedings.

The ruling by the Federal Administrative Court allows the airline to justify the need for night flights in further proceedings. A night flight ban in this form does not exist in Amsterdam, Paris, London or Dubai. Over the course of the proceedings, which began in 2000, Lufthansa had consistently highlighted the great importance of night flights and always made the case for "practicable night flight rules." The airline called for a fair balance between economic interests and those of local residents. "A rigid night-flight ban without any operational flexibility is completely unreasonable. It is unique in its kind worldwide and ignores the realities of international competition."

The absolute night-flight ban at Frankfurt Airport covers the period from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

"Lufthansa will continue to invest here in future and participate in the sector's growth. For larger investments, however, we will have to take the new developments into consideration when drawing comparisons with other hubs in the Lufthansa airline group," said Franz.

The press release continued: "Lufthansa is investing billions in quieter planes and upgrading older models, thereby providing audible relief to the residents around the airport. In addition, a noise abatement package with 19 separate elements was presented together with Volker Bouffier, premier of the state of Hesse, around a month ago."

"We are doing a lot for all-round noise protection, as demonstrated by the noise abatement package presented recently in Wiesbaden. A strict night flight ban in the form we have today is a setback for Germany as one of the world's leading export nations," said Franz. "Despite all the criticism it has now been established that the new runway was built legally and can be operated, albeit with restrictions."

Photo: Jan Brandes