“It’s a great day for aviation in Germany and for the
Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region.” This was Fraport AG’s comment following today’s
decision of the Hesse Administrative High Court (VGH) in Kassel, Germany, to
allow construction of the planned A380 superjumbo maintenance base at the
southern side of Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Fraport’s executive board chairman
Dr. Wilhelm Bender said, “This has cleared the way for a new generation of
aircraft at Frankfurt Airport. This decision decisively strengthens the
competitiveness and position of FRA in the future as a leading global
aviation hub. It secures jobs and generates new employment. This is an
extremely positive signal.“Lufthansa, Fraport’s key customer, has ordered 15 double-decker A380s,
the first of which are scheduled for delivery in 2007. By that time, the
maintenance base for Airbus superjumbos at Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub must be
completed and operational. Due to plans for the new Terminal 3, alternative
locations for the maintenance base throughout the airport site are not
available, including the existing U.S. Rhein-Main Air Base or other areas.
The new facility will provide for the stationing and servicing at FRA of
what by 2015 will be the world’s second-biggest A380 fleet. Construction of
the new maintenance base and the associated relocation of “Okrifteler
Strasse” road are scheduled to start at the beginning of November. Lufthansa
recently filed the building application for this new maintenance facility.
All parties concerned are confident that the building permit will be
available on time in the fall.
If the Administrative Court in Kassel had decided against Fraport,
Lufthansa would have been forced to station its A380 aircraft elsewhere, for
example, at Munich Airport. As a result, the jobs associated with maintaining
this aircraft would not have been created in Frankfurt.
“Immediately after the vegetation period - i.e., from September - we will
now be able to start cutting trees and clearing the site for construction,”
said Prof. Manfred Scholch, Fraport AG’s executive board vice chairman. He
reiterated that Fraport had abstained from immediate enforcement of the
zoning decision, thus tacitly accepting considerable difficulties for the
Respect of the court and the desire to avoid emotional tensions for
airport neighbors made this necessary, Scholch further explained. Now, it is
hoped that the plaintiffs, citizens’ action groups, and other organizations
will also accept the court’s decision and will not disturb the start of the
project with any impediments.
Fraport had expected the orders to hear evidence - also pronounced in the
proceedings involving the communities of Morfelden-Walldorf, Raunheim, and
Neu-Isenburg. “During the oral proceedings, the VGH court made it clear that
there is still need for clarification regarding the aircraft-engine test
runs, which in individual cases may be required after maintenance,” Prof.
Scholch explained. Depending on the results of the evidence hearing, it is
conceivable that the court will decree noise abatement measures. However,
this will not affect realization of the maintenance base. Even so, Scholch
expects that the expert noise studies, which Fraport submitted for the zoning
procedure, will be confirmed. According to these studies, unacceptable noise
blight is not expected in the neighboring residential areas.
In this connection, Prof. Scholch further indicated that Fraport, in the
procedure on Frankfurt Airport’s capacity expansion, has carefully made space
provisions to accommodate a noise abatement structure for engine test-runs.
The site of the current taxiway to the A380 maintenance base has been
earmarked for this purpose. The taxiway will be relocated westward.
In the proceedings involving BUND (Bund fur Umwelt und Naturschutz
Deutschland), the VGH court has not recognized some of the environmental
offset measures under the nature protection law and has ordered the State of
Hesse to supplement the zoning decision accordingly. Fraport AG does not
expect that this will result in any difficulties for the A380 maintenance