German authorities provide no relief to capacity-constrained Lufthansa at largest hub airports

German transport chiefs have reportedly rejected a move to cap growth at the nation’s four largest airports demanded by flag carrier Lufthansa.

The airline’s request ​​did not constitute ‘a suitable instrument for controlling bottlenecks in German airspace’, the German Federal Government said in a response to a request tabled by the FDP political party.

Given the many delays and cancellations this summer in Germany, Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr is understood to have lobbied for a limit on the hourly takeoffs and landings as a possible solution to the capacity crisis as well as a reduction in the number of slots at airports such as Frankfurt.

Frankfurt airport chief Stefan Schulte who also heads German airport association ADV was highly critical of the request saying it was ‘no way out of the much-bemoaned flight chaos of the summer’. Lufthansa has since announced that it was planning a strategic orientation at the Frankfurt hub through shifting a significant percentage of its larger aircraft operations to Munich.

German industry representatives such as Schulte and Spohr had met with federal transport minister Andreas Scheuer in early October where they agreed on 24 measures to prevent a repeat of this summer’s toll of flight cancellations and cancellations.

At that summit, Lufthansa board member and hub management chief Harry Hohmeister insisted on a swift implementation of the agreed points in view of the 18,000 flight cancellations the airline had had to make over the summer months: “We need solutions for next summer, and we also want the support of politicians,” he said at the time.

All parties involved agreed that the Single European Sky (SES) must be realised in order to create more capacity in European airspace. In this regard, Michael Hoppe, secretary general of the Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG) said the slow progress that had been made was no longer acceptable.

“Up until now the integration of individual measures has failed due to national egotism and regulation. Some European member countries have refused to replace their national airspace with a Functional Airspace Block or FAB. Despite the airspace block over Germany, France, Switzerland and the BENELUX states being enforced since June 2013, national air traffic control services must further intensify their cooperation.”

“German politicians must drive and intensify their initiatives at a European level through the European Commission and the European Parliament to dismantle the scattered organisation of air traffic control in Europe and to overcome the differently handled civil-military integration.”

“The SES project must be promoted and realised more efficiently and with more ambition by the individual European states. In face of the increasing number of passengers and flights in and over Europe, the air traffic system must be urgently developed. Holistic concepts designed with foresight are required and national borders must be overcome to ensure safety and allow for better usage of airspace.”