German Court Bans Night Flights at Frankfurt

OCTOBER 12, 2011

In a surprise ruling the Superior Administrative Court of the state of Hesse ruled Tuesday in favor of local opponents to night flights at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), imposing a ban on such activities effective October 30.

The court ruling means that night flights will be banned at the airport when a fourth runway opens Oct. 21. The order bans landing and take off from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and will affect 17 movements of mainly cargo flights.

Residents in nearby Russelsheim and Offenbach complained of aircraft noise at night and petitioned a lower court for relief. The case now goes to Germany’s Federal Administrative Court, which will make a decision later this year or at the start of 2012. The federal court's decision will take precedence over the ruling of the Hesse court.

Lufthansa Cargo, which operates 10 scheduled nighttime slots, is expecting considerable financial damage from the night ban as it must now reschedule or cancel several flights beginning with the winter schedule.

During the summer season FRA operated 4,585 weekly flights to 298 destinations and 250 weekly cargo scheduled flights. In 2010, FRA had 464,432 movements and an average of 150,000 passengers per day, for a total of 53 million passengers for the year.

Source: Based on a report at Air Transport World