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Lufthansa Cargo underlines need for night flights
Surprise night-flight ban in Frankfurt could cost millions
Lufthansa Cargo has underlined the need for individual cargo flights at night-time. At a press briefing prior to the 28th International Supply Chain Conference in Berlin Germany’s biggest cargo carrier pointed to the immense consequences ensuing for the international logistics industry from the provisional night-flight ban clamped at short notice by a regional court on Frankfurt Airport from 30 October.
Following the ruling from the administrative court in Hesse, which was issued only days before the introduction of the winter flight schedules, Lufthansa Cargo has put together an emergency timetable for the period after 30 October. “We’ve managed at great expense to keep our customer services comparatively intact,“ commented Lufthansa Cargo Chairman Karl Ulrich Garnadt. 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. “The night-flight ban has forced us to lay on a timetable, which in part is economically and ecologically absurd,” Garnadt emphasised. “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.”
Furthermore from January, at least one MD-11 freighter is to be transferred from Frankfurt to Cologne/Bonn Airport. The freighter will operate the indispensable overnight flights for the German logistics industry to North America, which can no longer be guaranteed from Frankfurt because of the night-flight ban.
The provisional night-flight ban in Frankfurt is a drastic signal for the German logistics industry. Garnadt emphasised: “As export world champion, Germany is reliant on dependable connec-tions to ship airfreight to destinations around the globe. Frankfurt Airport plays in that respect a highly important role, since around 40 per cent of German exports is transported by air.” A blanket night-flight ban threatens to sever Germany from the global trade lanes, observed Garnadt. “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.”
Karl-Ulrich Garnadt noted that the airline business was still hoping that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig (the supreme court of appeal) would allow a minimum of necessary night flights in its final ruling. “In the coalition agreement, the Federal Government had highlighted the importance of competitive operating times at German airports. I firmly assume that the Leipzig court will reach a commensurate balance between the economic necessities of the exporting nation Germany and the interests of local residents,” said Garnadt. “German airlines have in recent years
succeeded in steadily reducing noise emissions. That achievement should be recognised in any decision on the issue of operating times at German airports.“