Lufthansa Cargo said it expects to lose around $54 million annually if a temporary night flight ban at its Frankfurt global hub is made permanent.
The German carrier is facing higher costs for rerouting Asia-bound MD-11 freighters via Cologne since the ban took effect a month ago. Lufthansa also accrues additional cost by having to truck freight to Cologne where it is stationing an aircraft for flights to the U.S.
Lufthansa expects to lose $20 million this year because of cancelled flights and lost business after a regional court banned flights between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time from October 3. The ban came after resident of the state of Hesse complained about the noise caused by night flights.
The Far East flights are picking up extra freight at Cologne, but this is not covering the extra costs of the 20 minutes flying time detour from Frankfurt. The impact of the ban has been most noticeable on the route to Chicago, Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Karl Ulrich Garnadt said this week.
Lufthansa Cargo has also frozen planned investment of $1.35 billion at Frankfurt pending a final ruling by Germany’s highest administrative court in Leipzig in March.
The airline hasn’t included any night flights to or from Frankfurt in its 2012 summer flight plan, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported earlier, citing unnamed management sources.
Lufthansa said it will submit a flight plan for the summer season, which begins at the end of March, later this month or early next year. But the airline’s said its hope the ban will be overturned has been raised by the interest shown by politicians in the impact it will have on the German logistics sector.
“That politicians from different [political] parties are taking seriously the negative impact on Germany as a logistics base is a positive signal for the proceedings next March,” the company said.
More than half of Germany air freight passes through Frankfurt, including 80 percent of Lufthansa’s worldwide cargo traffic.
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