Fraport AG Will Apply for Nighttime Flight Restrictions Linked to Approval of Frankfurt Airport's Capacity Expansion Program
Supervisory Board Approves Plan to Apply for Zoning of the New Runway Northwest -Application for Limiting the Airport Operating License from 23:00 to 05:00 Will Be Done Simultaneously
Frankfurt, Germany (ots) - In tandem with its application to begin the zoning procedure for a new landing runway (to be built northwest of Frankfurt Airport), Fraport AG will simultaneously apply for a limited operating license during the nighttime hours from 23:00 to 05:00 - effective once the fourth runway goes into operation. This was announced today by Roland Koch, prime minister of the state of Hesse and Fraport AG's supervisory board chairman, as well as Fraport's executive board chairman, Dr. Wilhelm Bender, and vice-chairman, Prof. Manfred Schölch. Furthermore, after the new runway goes into operation, it is planned to limit the total number of aircraft movements between 22:00 and 23:00 and also between 05:00 and 06:00 hours to 150 take-offs and landings. Currently, there are an average of 80 aircraft movements per hour during the daytime. This rate will climb to 120 per hour after the new runway is inaugurated.
"This voluntary limitation underscores Fraport AG's commitment to accept and implement nighttime flight restrictions at FRA as the price for being able to expand the airport's runway system," said Koch. The Hessian aviation authority could order a ban on nighttime flights based on this request and consideration of all other interests. This was also confirmed by an independent expert examining "legal questions involved in implementing restrictions on nighttime flights", which was presented last August by the chairman of the Regional Dialogue Forum, Prof. Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner.
Prof. Schölch, Fraport's executive board member responsible for the Airport Expansion Program (AEP), explained Fraport AG's fundamental willingness additionally to establish a financial compensation program for residential areas in the airport vicinity, which are regularly affected by aircraft flying under a height of 300 meters. The Supervisory Board accepted and approved this initiative of Fraport's Executive Board. Fraport will discuss this program together with the Regional Dialogue Forum and the affected communities as soon as precise criteria have been determined.
Dr. Bender and Prof. Schölch stressed that Fraport AG has always respected the results of the Mediation Procedure and, consequently, have accepted restrictions on nighttime flights -- after the new runway is opened -- as one of the major points of the mediation package. "Doubts that Fraport would neglect the mediation results were always unfounded," said Bender. "Unfortunately, we did not see this constructive attitude on the part of many of our neighboring communities that also took part in the Mediation Procedure." Bender indicated that many communities spent significant sums of public funds on procedures and expert opinions with only one objective: to oppose the recommendations of the Mediation Procedure and prevent Frankfurt Airport's expansion. "The surrounding communities benefit economically from Frankfurt Airport; so when this income is spent on fighting FRA's expansion, there is somewhat of a bad aftertaste," said Bender.
Significant requirements for implementing restrictions on nighttime flights at Frankfurt Airport have already been initiated. Last July, Fraport AG and Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH applied to their corresponding aviation authorities in Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate to have the airports at Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt-Hahn designated as an "airport system". In October 2002, these aviation authorities both requested the German Ministry of Transport to approve the creation of such a system and to submit this request to the European Commission for review, approval and publication.
In addition, the federal states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate - together with the airport operators at FRA and Frankfurt-Hahn - have agreed on further expansions at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport necessary for making it an international airport for passenger and cargo traffic. "This also increases the acceptance of a recognized airport system and serves to support the feasibility and assurance of a restriction on nighttime flights at FRA," said Bender.