Hamburg court confirms DFS runway use following citizen noise concern

In a 18 September court ruling, a Hamburg court upheld runway use at Hamburg Airport by DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung.

The regulations for using the runways lay down the priority use of certain runway configurations for handling air traffic at Hamburg Airport, unless the traffic situation or for reasons of traffic safety, in particular weather and runway conditions, force DFS to use a different configuration.

The plaintiffs, two private citizens from Hamburg, believed DFS violated these regulations by deviating too frequently from the priority regulation when using the runways, which caused unacceptable additional noise disturbance for the plaintiffs.

In 2018, they therefore appealed to the Higher Administrative Court in Hamburg against the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Federal Republic of Germany to enforce compliance with the regulations for using the runways. The operator of Hamburg Airport was also invited at the request of the defendants and also participated in the proceedings.

After several hours of oral proceedings on 18 September, the Higher Administrative Court clarified that the practice of DFS is not objectionable. DFS did not violate the regulations for using the runways at Hamburg Airport. The quantitatively determinable rule-exception ratio alleged by the plaintiffs with regard to the use of the runways cannot be derived from the regulations on using the runways either. Since the plaintiffs’ rights were thus not infringed, the actions were dismissed in their entirety.

DFS said this decision has not yet become final; the plaintiffs may lodge an appeal for non-admission with the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig within one month of receiving the reasons for the decision.