BARIG Celebrates 65th Anniversary

The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), the globally largest, oldest and most influential national airline association, has turned 65. At their Frankfurt-held birthday party, many high-ranking industry representatives among the 250 attendees honoured and recognized the importance of the organization for the aviation community.

65 years BARIG (l > r) Carsten Spohr  /  Bernadette Weyland  /  Anke Giesen  /  Michael Hoppe  -  courtesy BARIG
65 years BARIG (l > r) Carsten Spohr / Bernadette Weyland / Anke Giesen / Michael Hoppe - courtesy BARIG

It was Anke Giesen, Chairwoman of Fraport AG Operations, that reminded the audience on the historic circumstances 65 years back in her welcoming address. When BARIG was founded in 1951, only 15 airlines landed at Frankfurt Airport, carrying 260,000 passengers and 15,000 tons of air freight that year. During those early days far-sighted airline managers recognized the importance of aviation, anticipating the impending enormous upswing of the industry. How right their vision was is shown today, proven by 61 million passengers and 2.1 million tons of freight counted last year at Rhine-Main airport.
In her laudation, Anke stressed the BARIG commitment from day one to further developing air freight matters. By founding the sub-group BARIG Cargo Committee, it became visible that air freight is not just a by-product in aviation but an essential part of it. Also, BARIG’s active involvement in the initiative AirCargo Community Frankfurt (ACC) aimed at pushing cargo matters rapidly forward for making Frankfurt more attractive for the industry was praised by her. “In all those years you have been an extremely reliable partner to us,” the Fraport Cargo Chief addressed BARIG Chairman Michael Hoppe directly, thanking him for his organization’s outstanding commitment.
In his statement, BARIG boss Michael Hoppe reminded the audience that the airlines serving Germany are facing great challenges due to inadequate framework conditions initiated by Berlin’s politicians, levying special aviation taxes or imposing night flight curfews, to name just two main obstacles. Only if these framework conditions are adequate, the air traffic industry as highly modern industrial sector can significantly contribute to Germany’s economic success in the future, he emphasized. In case federal and local politicians should fail supporting this dynamic sector and in view of the fierce competition abroad, Germany will have a hard time to defend its current position in global aviation, Michael predicted.  
In his greeting message, Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary in Berlin’s Traffic Ministry reacted to Hoppe’s complaints, stating that “we want our German hubs to be successful.” The politician went on to say that for this reason, “there shall neither be a general ban on night flights, nor an alteration in the legal operating hours at German airports.” Finally, he advocated an international EU and ICAO level for even and standardized framework conditions. “Fair competition is only possible on the basis of a level playing field,” Barthle exclaimed.
Bernadette Weyland, Hessian Secretary to the Treasury and member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was in a very delicate role when congratulating BARIG. This, because it was mainly her party dominating the Hesse state government that was ultimately responsible for imposing a night flight ban at FRA. In spite of the deterioration of Rhine-Main’s competitive position as result of the curfew, she spoke of Frankfurt Airport as a “flagship and motor for the federal state of Hesse.” Therefore, “securing and further developing the location’s attractiveness as international air traffic hub is a matter of the heart,” she stated. 
Carsten Spohr, Chairman and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said that BARIG stands for diversity, competition and Germany’s worldwide linkage. After the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany BARIG had a major share in the process of reintegrating the country into the global air traffic network. By offering hundreds of passenger and cargo flights daily from and to Germany, the airlines incorporated in BARIG sustainably consolidate the air traffic industry as an elementary part of the infrastructure. “In the name of Lufthansa I congratulate BARIG to its 65th anniversary.”
CEO Michael Kerkloh of Munich Airport not only congratulated “whole-heartedly” BARIG to its 65th birthday but also stressed that he can’t detect any signs of retirement fantasies. After all, humans normally retire when reaching the age of 65. Michael ended his statement by wishing to further cooperate constructively with the BARIG member airlines. “They as well as we as airport representatives support the efficient cooperation between airports and airlines in the same way and thereby contribute to strengthening the air traffic location Germany.”
The anniversary ended in great consent, with speakers and audience fully agreeing that BARIG is a stable platform for both passenger and cargo traffics, that must go on playing an important role also in times ahead. Secondly, it was stressed that all parties involved must take action, particularly politicians to jointly strengthen the aviation location Germany and create fair framework conditions.
Heiner Siegmund

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