Frankfurt night-flight ban upheld, LH shares drop
21 / 05 / 2012
GERMANY’S highest court has upheld Frankfurt Airport’s night-flight ban. Lufthansa’s shares immediately fell 2.4 per cent at the news; Fraport’s fell 1.1 per cent.
In October last year, local residents legally contested the local government’s ruling that would allow 17 flights between 11pm and 5am.
While the case was being heard a temporary ban was issued. This is now permanent and the airport must also cut the average number of flights permitted between 10pm and 11pm and 5am and 6am from 150 to 133.
The judge who made this final ruling says the only opportunity for a reprieve is for the local government to make a new decision, but this will be unlikely to provide the movements Lufthansa needs to most efficiently operate freighters at the airport.
“For Frankfurt airport the night flights ruling is a further step which limits the ability of German airlines and airports to compete with foreign rivals,” says Klaus-Peter Siegloch, president of the BDL, the association of the German air industry. “There are no such limitations in Amsterdam, Paris, London or Dubai.”
Christoph Franz, Lufthansa’s chief executive, says: “This is a big blow for Germany as a place to do business and there is no doubt that one of Europe’s biggest hubs will slip in international competitiveness.”
Lufthansa Cargo’s chief executive officer, Karl Ulrich Garnadt, warned the carrier may have to dispose of its entire freighter fleet of 17 aircraft, which carry about half of its shipments.