It is not only the German Air Cargo Club who of late have had a ministerial visit, but also the ‘Board of Airline Representatives In Germany’, known to the trade as BARIG.
Tarek Al-Wazir, the Hessian Minister of Transport, Energy & Commerce, just over a week after his visit to the ACD, was the guest speaker at the BARIG Full Board Meeting held in Frankfurt on the 19th of November. The politician said that his government’s immediate aim is to reduce the noise pressure to a minimum without affecting the commercial viability of FRA.
BARIG which represents the interests of around 100 national and international airlines based in Germany has also been very active in the past in trying to ensure that Frankfurt airport can remain
competitive during the coming years.
Did BARIG get a different answer from that of the ACD members?
It does not seem like it!
Michael Hoppe, BARIG’s Chairman, states however that “we are presently in the process of discussing subjects with Mr Al-Wazir which are very important for the future.
We assume by this that he refers to the future of FRA airport.
It was apparent that the discussion centered on the necessity for the construction of Terminal 3. There was little said on the future of FRA as an air cargo hub or as to whether further flight restrictions may occur.
Mr Al-Wazir did however reiterate his position with regards to the night-time curfew in that he also stated before the BARIG members that there will be no further capacity restrictions other than those already in force, but that, as he had also informed the ACD members, “the commercial development of the airport cannot be the only measuring stick.”
He went on to say that “the regional government’s immediate aim is to reduce the pressure to a minimum without affecting the commercial viability of the airport.”
He said that also a week beforehand, but did not state how he and his government aides wish to accomplish this except that they plan a new model for early morning / late evening runway use.
What if the above does not work out and is accompanied by even more protests from inhabitants who live around the airport?
Terminal 3 going out the window?
The BARIG Chairman and the airline representatives made it clear that the extension of the airport must go on as planned. Mr Hoppe stated quite categorically that the planning for the airport must be coupled with a realistic look at the future needs of the airport and its users.
He and his members are also of the opinion that the airport has almost reached the limit of its capacity and that international traffic will continue to grow, thereby underlining the absolute necessity of pushing ahead with Terminal 3.
Airlines are already complaining since a long time that more than half of their aircraft still today cannot dock at the terminals and have to use outside positions which makes it necessary to bus passengers to and from the terminals.
Frankfurt, in their view is the only airport of this size which offers such a negative passenger transport service.
FRA will be overtaken
Michael Hoppe made it clear that he and his members see no alternative to the erection of Terminal 3 in order that FRA can remain attractive for carriers in the future.
This also then applies for air cargo.
The less flights, the less cargo there will be. That coupled with no nightly or evening freighter operations will push FRA to the back of the list as far as future cargo operations are concerned.
The government is still evaluating T3 plans
Anyway! Mr Al-Wazir has reserved the right to further study the necessity of building Terminal 3 and that the estimated €2 billion investment is one which has to be looked at carefully.
Hopefully, he is studying the number of € billions which may go down the drain if FRA is pushed back into something close to a regional airport status.
That at least should be foremost in his mind as the responsible minister for Commerce, Transport and Energy for Hesse State.
But - there again - maybe he and his ministerial advisors will not be on seat by that time and won’t have to face the wrath of those who will be forced out of work in and around the airport.
John Mc Donagh