Fraport: "Great Day for Aviation and the Frankfurt Region"
Green Light Given for Building
A380 Maintenance Base at FRAU
Frankfurt am Main /Germany (ots) - "It's a great day for aviation in Germany and for the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region." This was Fraport AG's comment following today's decision of the Hesse Administrative High Court (VGH) in Kassel, Germany, to allow construction of the planned A380 superjumbo maintenance base at the southern side of Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Fraport's executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender said, "This has cleared the way for a new generation of aircraft at Frankfurt Airport. This decision decisively strengthens the competitiveness and position of FRA in the future as a leading global aviation hub. It secures jobs and generates new employment. This is an extremely positive signal."
Lufthansa, Fraport's key customer, has ordered 15 double-decker A380s, the first of which are scheduled for delivery in 2007. By that time, the maintenance base for Airbus superjumbos at Lufthansa's Frankfurt hub must be completed and operational. Due to plans for the new Terminal 3, alternative locations for the maintenance base throughout the airport site are not available, including the existing U.S. Rhein-Main Air Base or other areas.
The new facility will provide for the stationing and servicing at FRA of what by 2015 will be the world's second-biggest A380 fleet. Construction of the new maintenance base and the associated relocation of "Okrifteler Strasse" road are scheduled to start at the beginning of November. Lufthansa recently filed the building application for this new maintenance facility. All parties concerned are confident that the building permit will be available on time in the fall.
If the Administrative Court in Kassel had decided against Fraport, Lufthansa would have been forced to station its A380 aircraft elsewhere, for example, at Munich Airport. As a result, the jobs associated with maintaining this aircraft would not have been created in Frankfurt.
"Immediately after the vegetation period - i.e., from September - we will now be able to start cutting trees and clearing the site for construction," said Prof. Manfred Schölch, Fraport AG's executive board vice chairman. He reiterated that Fraport had abstained from immediate enforcement of the zoning decision, thus tacitly accepting considerable difficulties for the project schedule.
Respect of the court and the desire to avoid emotional tensions for airport neighbors made this necessary, Schölch further explained. Now, it is hoped that the plaintiffs, citizens' action groups, and other organizations will also accept the court's decision and will not disturb the start of the project with any impediments.
Fraport had expected the orders to hear evidence - also pronounced in the proceedings involving the communities of Mörfelden-Walldorf, Raunheim, and Neu-Isenburg. "During the oral proceedings, the VGH court made it clear that there is still need for clarification regarding the aircraft-engine test runs, which in individual cases may be required after maintenance," Prof. Schölch explained. Depending on the results of the evidence hearing, it is conceivable that the court will decree noise abatement measures. However, this will not affect realization of the maintenance base. Even so, Schölch expects that the expert noise studies, which Fraport submitted for the zoning procedure, will be confirmed. According to these studies, unacceptable noise blight is not expected in the neighboring residential areas.
In this connection, Prof. Schölch further indicated that Fraport, in the procedure on Frankfurt Airport's capacity expansion, has carefully made space provisions to accommodate a noise abatement structure for engine test-runs. The site of the current taxiway to the A380 maintenance base has been earmarked for this purpose. The taxiway will be relocated westward.
In the proceedings involving BUND (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland), the VGH court has not recognized some of the environmental offset measures under the nature protection law and has ordered the State of Hesse to supplement the zoning decision accordingly. Fraport AG does not expect that this will result in any difficulties for the A380 maintenance base project.
Fact Sheet: Frankfurt Airport's Planned A380 Maintenance Base
By 2007, a new maintenance base will be built at the south side of Frankfurt Airport (FRA) for Fraport AG's key customer Lufthansa. This new facility will accommodate Lufthansa's A380 superjumbos. Here is a summary of facts concerning this interesting and vital construction project :
- The planned maintenance base must be seen independently of FRA's planned Northwest Landing Runway. Therefore, Fraport initiated a separate zoning procedure to obtain approval for this facility (application submitted in January 2003).
- Amount of forested area to be cleared for the project: approximately 21 hectares, including about 13.5 hectares of "protection" forest.
- As an environmental offset, Fraport has already reforested some 23 hectares (thereof: 20 hectares at Hof Schönau and 3 hectares at Hohenau) in the Rüsselsheim and Trebur districts.
- In the opinion of the VGH court, the zoning authority has to issue new orders for further environmental offset measures under the nature protection law. This will not present any problems for realizing the project.
- Fraport has concluded a long-term contract with the Lufthansa group for utilization of the site for the maintenance base.
- Maintenance Hangar: The hangar (approximately 350 meters long, 140 meters wide, and 45 meters high) will be capable of accommodating up to four A380 aircraft simultaneously.
- Warehouse: 140 meters long, more than 62 meters wide, about 10 meters high.
- Site: No alternative site was available within the existing airport boundary.
- Utilization: The new maintenance facility will be used for routine maintenance of Lufthansa's A380 superjumbos, as well as B747 jumbos.
- Design: The new hangar to be built on the south side of FRA was designed by Gerkan, Marg & Partner Architects of Hamburg, Germany.