Court approves expansion of Frankfurt airport
Fraport AG described today's decision from the Hesse Adminstrative High Court (VGH) in Kassel "a great day for the German air transportation industry and the future of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region".
In an initial statement, Fraport executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender said that the VGH decision stressed the overwhelming public interest in the expansion of Germany's central air transportation hub. Expansion of Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is not only a national task for securing the future viability and competitiveness of Germany as a strong aviation base but will also guarantee the economic prosperity of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region, which is strongly affected by the current economic and financial crisis.
Bender underscored that Fraport was "fully on schedule" with airport capacity expansion and that the envisaged opening of the new Runway Northwest for the 2011 Winter Timetable was a "realistic target". Bender stated: "Our motto is: Full steam ahead for airport expansion. With this biggest private investment project in Europe, we are stimulating the construction industry in the short-term. Thus, we are contributing actively to overcome the economic crisis, secure and create new jobs, and strengthen the economic prowess of the region where more than 300,000 people depend on the airport for their livelihood."
Fraport's executive board vice-chairman Dr. Stefan Schulte, responsible for airport expansion, commented on the court's decision regarding nighttime flights, by pointing out that the court had attached more importance to the residents' need for an undisturbed nighttime sleep than to the competitive interests of the airlines. With its request for a nighttime flight ban between 23:00 and 05:00 in the zoning application, Fraport followed the recommendations of the mediation group. After weighing the interests of air transport on the one hand and the residents' need for protection on the other hand, the zoning authority permitted 17 aircraft movements during the night. This would be considerably less than the 40 nighttime flights currently registered on average. Furthermore, to balance interests the authority had included in its consideration other court decisions. Schulte stated: "Ultimately, the issue will presumably be decided at the highest court level."