Fraport gets greenlight for expansion

A GERMAN court has given Fraport the go ahead to expand Frankfurt Airport. The airport company said it was “a great day for the German air transportation industry and the future of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region”. The €4 billion ($5.7 billion) expansion will include a new runway to compete against London Heathrow’s third, due for completion in 2019,which it has just been given approval to build.

However, the Hesse Administrative High Court (VGH) in Kassel also ruled that the state of Hesse must look at the rules governing night flights over the Frankfurt area, raising doubt as to whether it will also give Lufthansa the green light to expanding the number of night-time flights at the airport.

In an initial statement, Fraport executive board chairman, Dr Wilhelm Bender (right), said that the VGH decision stressed the overwhelming public interest in the expansion of Germany’s central air transportation hub. He added: “The expansion of Frankfurt Airport is not only a national task for securing the future viability and competitiveness of Germany as a strong aviation base but that it 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 northwest runway for the 2011 winter timetable was a “realistic target”.

Fraport’s executive board vice-chairman Dr Stefan Schulte, responsible for airport expansion, commented on the court’s decision regarding night-time flights, by pointing out that the court had attached more importance to the residents’ need for an undisturbed sleep than to the competitive interests of the airlines.

Schulte said: “Ultimately, the issue will presumably be decided at the highest court level.”

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