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As we reported last week, the German state of Hesse issued a ruling banning all night flights at Frankfurt Airport from 30 October until the country’s Federal Administrative Court issues its final ruling on the matter. (That ruling is not expected until near the end of the year.) Immediately following the State court ruling, Lufthansa Cargo expressed dismay and anger – particularly at the lack of advance notice, and now the carrier has quantified the expected damage.
Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Lufthansa Cargo’s Chairman, was quoted as saying the ban would cause the carrier to lose tens of millions of Euros. Regarding its response to the ban, Lufthansa cargo said it had put together an emergency timetable for the period after 30 October: “We’ve managed at great expense to keep our customer services comparatively intact. A number of flights have had to be relocated to daytime slots or to the early and late hours of the day. Individual connections – to China, for example – have been cancelled entirely. Other flights bound for China would have to stop over at Cologne/Bonn Airport for several hours after an evening departure from Frankfurt so as to fly on, as originally planned, at night-time in the direction of the Far East.”
Mr. Garnadt also commented further on the ban as it effects both the environment and Germany’s economy. Regarding environmental aspects, he said: “The night-flight ban has forced us to lay on a timetable, which in part is economically and ecologically absurd,” He added: “We will be operating in future with unnecessary take-offs and landings, which will lead to more noise, higher fuel consumption and more costs running into millions.” In addition to the scheduling changes, Lufthansa cargo also said it would transfer at least one of its MD-11Fs from Frankfurt to Cologne/Bonn Airport.
Regarding the impact on his country’s economy, he said: “As export world champion, Germany is reliant on dependable connections to ship airfreight to destinations around the globe. Frankfurt Airport plays in that respect a highly important role, since around 40% of German exports is transported by air. Closing the world’s seventh biggest airport for six hours each night and thereby decoupling it from the international goods flows constitutes a severe blow to the air traffic industry. No other transport mode is subject to such operational restrictions.”