Regarding today's decision of the Federal Administrative Court: Way clear for BER: off-peak flights finally approved

13.10.11 14:39
Federal Administrative Court gives the go-ahead and approves the resident-friendly compromise found by the approving authorities / Better sound protection for neighbouring residents / Noise pollution in the region cut by concentrating air traffic at Berlin Brandenburg Airport 
The final landmark decision has been made regarding the construction of Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt: the Federal Administrative Court today finally approved the supplementary planning permission decision for BER. In the supplementary planning permission decision of October 2009, the Brandenburg Ministry of Infrastructure had regulated the number of flights during the off-peak hours of 10–12 p.m. and 5–6 a.m.

Commenting on the ruling, Berlin's Governing Mayor and Supervisory Board Chairman Klaus Wowereit said: "The Federal Administrative Court has fully approved Berlin Airports' plans. The ruling creates legal certainty, which is particularly important just six months prior to the opening of BER Airport. The foundations are thus laid for making Willy Brandt Airport one of the top three airports in Germany. This will also help us achieve our goal of offering more intercontinental flights from Berlin. With this decision, the most important groundwork has been laid to enable internationally competitive sunrise industries and technologies to settle in the metropolitan region of Berlin and Brandenburg. Now that the framework conditions for operations at Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt have been defined, I would like to invite all airlines to take advantage of the outstanding opportunities offered by the new, modern airport and offer worldwide connections to and from Berlin and Brandenburg."

Also commenting on the ruling, Brandenburg's Minister President Matthias Platzeck said: "This is a good day for the regional economy and regional employment. Not only has the Federal Administrative Court approved the planning permission decision, the regulations regarding passive noise protection have also been improved. The work of Brandenburg's planning permission authority has thus ended on a high note, paving the way for positive development opportunities at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. I am very optimistic that the airport will utilise its potential and rank amongst the top three airport locations in Germany. The new airport can help our region better integrate in the international division of labour as well as increase economic growth and employment. At the same time, I am well aware that the airport is proving problematic for residents in the direct vicinity. These problems must be kept to a minimum. During verbal negotiations before the Federal Administrative Court in September, amendments were made by the planning permission authority to the benefit of residents in the direct vicinity. This was also illustrated by today's ruling. The airport company will rapidly and unbureaucratically implement the court's decision."

Rainer Bomba, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport added: "The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is one of the most important development projects in the capital region. The final ruling of the Federal Administrative Court will enable Berlin, Brandenburg and Germany to be even better connected to the rest of the world. Concentrating the scattered air traffic at one location represents a major step forward, especially for the long-divided German capital: as of June 2012, the reality will be new jobs and more new companies settling in the region."

Prof. Dr. Rainer Schwarz, CEO of Berlin Airports: "The stage is now set for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, giving Berlin Airports, airlines and local residents planning security. Today's ruling means we can now open the airport as planned and intended: as an airport that will better connect Berlin and Brandenburg with the rest of the world than the old airports Schoenefeld and Tegel, thanks to more long-haul flights and additional European connections. We welcome the decision of the Federal Administrative Court, which clearly acknowledges our role as a Capital Airport. Today marks an important day for the airline industry. Our biggest airlines in particular, airberlin and Lufthansa, have refrained from making any specific announcements prior to the court ruling. I am sure this will soon change and additional routes will be confirmed in the coming weeks. We are also focusing our attention on our airport neighbours, ensuring residents rapidly and unbureaucratically receive the noise-protection measures stipulated by the court."

Facts & Figures: night flight restrictions for the airport

Following a final review of the night flight restrictions by the Federal Administrative Court, the following binding regulations apply to flight operations at Berlin Brandenburg Airport:
  • Regular scheduled flights will not be permitted during core night time hours from 12 p.m. to 5 a.m. – unlike at Schoenefeld, which has been given 24h approval.
  • On average 77 flight movements will be permitted during off-peak times between 10–12 p.m. and 5–6 a.m.
  • Between 5–6 a.m. and 11–12 p.m. the authorities will allow a maximum average of 31 flight movements, clearly capping the airport’s mid- and long-term growth.
  • No scheduled flights may be operated between 11.30–12 p.m. and 5–5.30 a.m. These times are exclusively available for delays or early arrivals.

Events leading up to the decision

Since the consensus decision in 1996, Berlin-Brandenburg’s aviation policy has been to pursue a clear strategy: to close the inner-city airports Tegel and Tempelhof and expand Schoenefeld into one airport, namely Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt. The closure of the inner-city airports Tegel and Tempelhof and the concentration of traffic at BER are also regional milestones from an economic point of view and in terms of reducing noise pollution:

In 2004, 225,800 people in our region were affected by 55 dB(A) of noise from 15 million daytime passengers. In 2023, this figure will drop to 59,600 from twice as many passengers (source: 2006 State Development Plan on the Development of the Airport Location). A comprehensive noise protection programme will offer local residents extensive protection.

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