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More Frankfurt night bans to hit German exporters

LONDON/FRANKFURT: October 18, 2016. UK prime minister Theresa May has indicated her preference for a third runway at Heathrow although the green light is unlikely to be granted before 2018, according to reports.

The delay could be good news for the 100-strong Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG) that is calling on the German government to ensure a complementary logistics infrastructure to support "the world's leading export nation".

LH FRABARIG said it reacted with "incomprehension" to a planned noise limit at Frankfurt by the Hessian Ministry of Economy and Transport which, if implemented, will lead to a "massive endangerment of the international competitiveness of Germany's largest air traffic hub – leading to long-term negative effects also on economic power, jobs and mobility in the Rhine-Main area and Germany as a whole".

The association has responded by saying air cargo has no future in Germany without a rapid improvement in infrastructure: "Further obstacles shall not be placed in the path of airlines. New bans on night fights, additional noise intermissions or noise ceilings imply obvious and more operational restrictions for airlines harm the business location Germany [sic]," declared BARIG secretary general Michael Hoppe.

Noting an increasing number of forwarders are trucking air cargo from Germany to the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Belgium, Hoppe said it is because the cost advantage is "so massive" and without action the trend will continue to grow at the expense of German exporters.

In an echo of UK aviation industry leaders lobbying for an expanded Heathrow, Hoppe concluded: "If we miss out on laying the fundament for a prosperous future today, Germany will continue to lose ground in international competition, thereby putting its important position in scheduled, charter and cargo fights at risk. This in return would have serious consequences for economy, jobs and consumers."

Meanwhile May has indicated that Boris Johnson and any other government minister opposed to a third runway at Heathrow is permitted to express his or her opposition "for a set period".

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