Lufthansa Awaits Frankfurt Night Flight Ruling
A German court on Wednesday will rule on whether to uphold a ban on night flights at Frankfurt airport; the freight unit's future investment plans of up to 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) rest on the decision.
April 4, 2012 3:16 by kippreport
A German court on Wednesday will rule on whether to uphold a ban on night flights at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third busiest, in a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for German flagship airline Lufthansa.
Lufthansa says it needs night flights at the airport so its cargo operations can compete with fast-growing Gulf airports and has warned the freight unit’s future investment plans of up to 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) rest on the decision.
After the local government said in 2009 it would allow 17 flights between 11 pm and 5am local time from the end of October 2011 on economic grounds, residents under the flight paths took the case to court.
Their complaint was upheld in October by a local court just ahead of the opening of the Fraport operated airport’s fourth runway, drawing howls of protest from airlines.
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, whose decision will take precedence over that of the local court, will rule on the ban just after 0800 GMT on Wednesday.
At a hearing last month, the judge at the higher court in Leipzig indicated mistakes had been made in the approval process for the new runway, under which a mediator proposed a night flight ban, before the local government unilaterally decided to allow 17 flights.
Since the temporary ban was implemented, regular Monday protests at the airport have also seen up to 5,000 people calling for the ban to be extended by two hours each night and for the new runway to be shut down. ($1=0.7497 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mike Nesbit)