Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Frankfurt Airport Back in the News

I live within the 'shadow' of the Frankfurt Airport.  In some ways, I'm lucky....I'm twenty kilometers from the airport.  On a clear night, I can sit on the balcony and see the planes starting an approach or landing into the airport.

A lot of folks have houses at the various ends of runways to Frankfurt, and get a dose of roughly 482,000-odd flights that land or take off each year.  These are the people who are frustrated and angry over the flight operations and noise.

A number of years ago, they reached a stage where they simply said twenty-four operations were not possible, so Frankfurt Airport changed into a different pattern....shutting down at 11PM and opening up at 5AM.

I noticed in local news today....the SPD Party (not part of the current Hessen government because of the past election).....has proposed a new schedule deal....forcing a shut-down of operations at 10PM and opening the airport for landings or take-offs at 6AM.  Part of the suggestion is to off-set the pattern....suggesting some days a 10PM-5AM closure and some days a 11PM-6AM closure.

If you look at the current strategy in place (since 2011), there are six hours of non-active time for the airport.  So, if you were an airline and seeking to bring another dozen flights a day into Frankfurt....it gets to being more difficult.  The Frankfurt Airport planning staff has four runways now in operation.....to accommodate the more limited landing hours set by the 'quiet' hours.  This in someways.....has angered more people because the newer runways brought a different flow pattern of landing into the overall issue.

More runways possibly coming out of the potential eight hours of closure?  I would make a bet that a team of planners are looking at this option and if they are forced into more 'quiet' hours....they will build at least one....maybe even two....more runways.  In some ways....it's just inviting more frustrations by the public over this ever increasing air traffic issue.

Back forty years ago, no one at the Frankfurt Airport would have predicted the massive amount of use for the airport.  Expansion for the runways and support structure is not a problem....since the absorption of Rhine Main Air Base....they've got plenty of extra property.  The issue is now all the urban growth around the airport....which didn't exist forty years ago, and the significant play of politics in just everything revolving around the airport.

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