Ban on night flights at Frankfurt Airport “terrible blow”

Lufthansa Cargo has said a continuing ban on night flights at Frankfurt Airport was a “terrible blow” for Germany as a business location. The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled yesterday that a night-flight regulation defined in the planning approval notice cannot be sustained.

It means that the ban on night flights from Frankfurt will remain in force until further notice.

Lufthansa said it fears “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.”

Franz said Lufthansa will make clear the need for select night-time flights within future planning procedures for the airport, despite his company not being given leave to appeal the decision within the current proceedings.

A night-flight ban in this form does not exist in Amsterdam, Paris, London or Dubai, the company said.

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.

The absolute night-flight ban at Frankfurt Airport covers a six-hour period from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., shutting down “Germany’s most important aviation hub”.

Lufthansa said it will continue to invest at the airport in future, but warned that larger investments would have to take the night-time ban into consideration.

Other logistics operators like UPS and FedEx have based operations at Cologne Airport, with FedEx transferring its Central European hub from Frankfurt to Cologne back in 2010.

Of the ten largest cargo airports worldwide, Frankfurt is currently in seventh place, according to Lufthansa.

“On North Atlantic routes in particular, the night-time departure is indispensable for our customers. The migration of urgent express products to other hubs in Europe will continue,” said Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo AG.

“Switching to other airports is impossible for Lufthansa Cargo, however, as more than half the cargo on board passenger aircraft is transported via Frankfurt. Frankfurt is an indispensable part of our business model. This is the only place where freighters and passenger aircraft can be linked quickly and smoothly.”

Lufthansa said it was investing billions in quieter planes to help residents around airports.

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