Frankfurt’s airport has had it’s fill of unfair attention over the last few weeks. With random strikes of ground workers forcing the cancelations of thousands of flights and millions in lost revenue, Frankfurt is now in line for additional grief over the coming weeks.
In October, Frankfurt had opened a much needed 4th runway to meet growing demand of air traffic, especially cargo flights. This 4th runway has created tension with residents who live near the airport because of the increase in air traffic noise, especially during over night hours when cargo carriers dispatch their flights. It had gotten to such an extreme, that local courts banned the airport from operating these flights between 11:00p and 5:00a. Protesters have been gathering at the airport, congesting the check-in area, each Monday for the last 5 weeks to voice their displeasure while this dispute is negotiated. This group of protestors seeks to have the 4th runway shut down permanently.
Lufthansa has been so adversely affected that they needed to transfer cargo operation to other airports in Germany at substantial cost to them. Additional, FRAPORT, the operating authority for Frankfurt’s airport has lost millions in revenue because of this restriction. Along with the airport, Lufthansa has launched their own campaign highlighting the economic benefits that the 4th runway brings. They cited the revenue and traffic helps them create thousands of jobs that would otherwise be moved to other airports or lost altogether.
Now it appears that on March 13, a court in Leipzig is going to issue a ruling that may finally bring a resolution to this on going battle between the airport and residents who live under the flight path of the new runway. From what I’ve read, and based on the action of the courts in past cases, it seems that the court will likely be sympathetic to the residents but at the same time will need to balance the economic impact that would have on the airport and airlines operating there. This is a decision I would not want to be in a position to make because you will not be able to appease everyone.
Personally, I don’t know what you would do with a concrete slab called a runway if a court said you couldn’t use it. I suspect that somewhere in between the 2 extremes some agreement will be reach. It would be nice for Frankfurt and FRAPORT to finally have some good news to report!!