Peter Marx, the vice president of environmental management at Fraport, has slammed the recent decision to ban night flights from Frankfurt Airport as “a big mess”, during his speech today at Smart Airports.
The surprise announcement yesterday that a German court has banned night flights at Frankfurt Airport – two weeks before the opening of the gateway’s new runway – has been met with criticism from both airport operator Fraport and Lufthansa.
Speaking at the third day of the Smart Airports conference in Munich, Peter Marx said the decision would prove a “big, big mess for cargo operations in particular.”
He said: “There are just two weeks to go before Frankfurt Airport opens its new runway and night flights have already been cancelled.
“As we know noise abatement is the most important thing for airport operators when it comes to green initiatives, but no night flights between 11pm and 5am will cause a big, big mess for cargo handlers.”
The administrative supreme court of Hesse has banned night flights at Frankfurt Airport after complaints from residents, and has said the ban would start on October 30 with the new winter flight schedule.
The new runway is due to start operations on October 21.
Airport operator Fraport said the ban “poses an extremely difficult situation for airlines, logistics companies, Fraport as well as passengers and impacts globally linked flight connections.”
The German airline industry has also hit out against the decision and a spokesman for Frankfurt-based Lufthansa, told Reuters that “to implement such a ban at short notice will have significant economic consequences.”
The local state government decided in 2009 to allow 17 flights between 11pm and 5am for the winter schedule, mostly for cargo operations, because of the economic benefits.
According to Marx, Fraport has been “fighting for a new runway for 20 years”, although night flights had not been part of the negotiation process.
Lufthansa told Reuters that it was looking into possible legal measures, even though the Hesse court said in its statement no legal recourse was available.
The temporary ban will remain in place until a higher court in Leipzig, which is also listening to a complaint from residents regarding night operations at Frankfurt, makes its decision.
Lufthansa added that "as far as we are concerned the permitted movements are still valid until the decision of the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig."
The court will make its decision on night flights at Frankfurt Airport at the beginning of 2012 at the latest and its decision will take precedence over that of the Hesse court.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa Cargo until now had operated between eight and 10 movements each night and had hoped to increase that to 11 once the new runway was opened. It