A German court has ruled on 4 April upholding a temporary night flight ban at Frankfurt airport. The night flights, which are crucial for Lufthansa Cargo’s operations and to compete with fast-growing Gulf airports, said the decision would have serious consequences for Germany as a place to do business.
“This is a good day for our rivals in Paris, London, Amsterdam and Dubai,” chief executive Christoph Franz said. He added the decision by a judge at a federal court in Leipzig to ban flights at Frankfurt between 11pm and 5am in response to complaints about the noise from residents would affect decisions on where Lufthansa makes future investments.
Lufthansa Cargo said it would make a decision on future investment plans of up to one billion euros late in the third quarter. “We have to wait and see how customers react to the summer flight plan,” cargo chief executive Karl-Ulrich Garnadt said, confirming that the ban would cost it 40 million euros in lost earnings a year.
Lufthansa’s cargo arm, which had a 2011 operating profit of 249 million euros, had switched flights to Cologne during the winter but Garnadt said this was a “flop”, as it was impossible to relocate from its Frankfurt hub, where it also uses the belly space in Lufthansa passenger aircraft.