€262 or €57,500: Reliable facts instead of misinformation

16.02.11 09:44
Berlin Airports reject the allegations repeatedly published by citizens’ action group 'Fluglärmfreie Havelseen' / BBI airport fees will continue and extend the successful noise-based fees: special protection during the night
Berlin Airports repudiates the wrong and misleading allegations made repeatedly last Tuesday by the citizens’ action group ‘Fluglärmfreie Havelseen’ (No Aircraft Noise in Havelseen) with regard to the noise-based charges which are part of the BBI airport fees and charges.

Unsubstantiated accusations Comparing apples and oranges: in its letter dated 15 March 2011, the action group compares flights at BBI at 12.00 hrs and at 23.15 hrs that create noise values of 83 dB(A), 84 dB(A), 89 dB(A) and over 90 dB(A) with flights at the same times and of the same loudness at Frankfurt Airport. However, comparing the decibel categories at Frankfurt with those at BBI is like comparing apples with oranges. In Frankfurt the highest decibel category of over 84 dB(A) includes aircraft like the AN124; at BBI the comparable category of between 80 and 85 dB(A) include aircraft such as the B767-300. The reason for this is that the noise measurement points in Frankfurt and Berlin are in different positions and at different distances from the aircraft. In order to obtain comparable results, one needs to compare the aircraft types and not the dB(A) values. The action group draws the erroneous conclusion that the fees at Frankfurt Airport are much higher for specific aircraft types than at BBI.

€262 instead of €57,500: the action group makes a fundamental error in the calculation they provide as an example. They state that a Yak 42 flight landing at 22.45 hrs costs €478.80 in Berlin and €57,500 in Frankfurt. This is wrong. The fee for Berlin is correct, but the landing fee for this aircraft at Frankfurt is not €57,500 but only €262. This mistake is due to the fact that the action group has erroneously grouped this aircraft type in category 12 instead of category 5 at Frankfurt in terms of fees and charges.

In a second release yesterday, the action group states that the fees for loud aircraft (noise categories 5 and 6) at BBI would cost half what is presently charged at Schoenefeld Airport. This is also incorrect. At present aircraft are only charged for landing at Schoenefeld. At BBI fees will be charged for departures and landings. The changes to the noise fees – most of which represent a substantial increase – and the additional surcharges for night time flights can be seen in the table at the end.

The current planning status for airport fees at BBI Berlin Airports have been charging noise-related fees for many years now. Over the past years, this has emerged as an effective instrument to control aircraft noise. Loud aircraft, e.g. the BAC 1-11, disappeared from Berlin’s airports many years ago.

In the present draft for BBI airport fees Berlin Airports is not only continuing this policy of charging loud aircraft more, it has even been extended by adding a further three conditions:

  • A rising scale of fees applies to flights between 22.00 and 06.00 hrs; this acts a strong incentive to operate flights during the daytime hours from 06.00 to 22.00 hrs. No scheduled flights may be operated in the core night time hours in accordance with the BBI ruling issued in 2006 by the Federal Court of Administration. A very few exceptions are permitted, for instance Red Cross aid flights to catastrophe areas.
  • Until now, Berlin Airports has only charged aircraft to land; the airlines have not been charged for taking off. This is set to change: fees at BBI will apply to any flight movement, regardless of whether the aircraft is landing or leaving.
  • Like Frankfurt Airport, Berlin Airports will in future be charging a fee based on the aircraft’s emissions, thus creating an incentive to use aircraft with lower NOx emissions.

The BBI airport fees were presented by the noise commission in June 2010; all these charges have passed through the legally stipulated consultation procedures with the airline customers and are currently awaiting approval from the Ministry of Infrastructure in Brandenburg.

0.02 per cent of all flight movements: deliberate scaremongering instead of reliable facts In order to make this issue completely clear and put it into perspective, here are some facts and figures on how often loud aircraft land and take off at Berlin’s airports:

  • In the highest noise category 7 in 2010 in Tegel and Schoenefeld there were 14 flight movements (7 departures and 7 landings). These comprised ten flights operated by the German Red Cross for aid transports and four flights operated on behalf of the government or the military. Only one of these flights took place during the night.
  • In noise category 6 in 2010 in Tegel and Schoenefeld there were only 12 flight movements (6 departures and 6 landings). Apart from one flight, these were all government flights and not scheduled services. None of these flights took off or landed during the night, late in the evening or early in the morning.

In total, these flights account for 0.02 per cent of all the flight movements at Berlin’s airports in 2010.

Loud aircraft in the noise categories 6 and 7 are used predominantly in exceptional cases, such as aid flights, government or military flights. These aircraft are not used for scheduled or charter flights from Berlin’s airports.

Berlin Airports is more than happy to provide information about the noise-related fees and the BBI scale of fees. The action group ‘Fluglärmfreie Havelseen’ has repeatedly published and disseminated incorrect and misleading information. The action group is deliberately and recklessly scaremongering and misleading the people in the region. Berlin Airports refuses to be drawn into a debate on this low level.

Hannes Stefan Hönemann

Hannes Stefan Hönemann Head of Corporate

+49 30 6091-70100

Daniel Tolksdorf

Daniel Tolksdorf Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100

Kathrin Westhölter

Kathrin Westhölter Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100