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The District Government of Münster approves longer operating hours at Dortmund Airport

Restricted flight operations between 10:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. now possible

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The management of Flughafen Dortmund GmbH takes the following position on the decision of the District Government of Münster to extend the operating hours:

Managing Director Udo Mager: "We welcome the fact that the District Government of Münster has now decided to extend the operating hours of Dortmund Airport. Deviating from our application, the approval unfortunately falls short of the operating times and flight movements required from the airport's point of view.”

  • With immediate effect, the new delay regulations allow landings until 11:30 p.m. and take-offs until 10:30 p.m..
  • Four scheduled landings can now take place daily until 11:30 p.m., scheduled take-offs will continue until 10:00 p.m. only.
  • There is also a quota of 16 delayed take-offs and landings per month between 10:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m..

Deviating from the now immediately applicable operating hours permit, Dortmund Airport had applied for take-offs until 11:00 p.m. and unlimited scheduled landings until 11:00 p.m. as well as delayed landings until 11:30 p.m., as part of the delay regulation.

The previous operating times provided for scheduled flight movements between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and delays until 11:00 p.m., limited to 20 landings per month.

"We regret the modification that has been made, but will use the options that are still available to us in order to meet the airlines' current needs as far as possible. Since, in its December 2015 judgment, The High Court of Administration (OVG) had declared the original approval from May 2014 to be illegal, it could not be assumed that the temporarily extended operating hours would be reapproved and remain unchanged. For this reason, and on its own initiative, Dortmund Airport has already made an adjustment. The fact that the operating hours permit now granted still falls short of this application means that it obviously follows the restrictive provisions contained within the grounds for the ruling on the question of weighing noise protection needs against transport interests.

We are likely to accept the decision of the District Government because, despite the continuing restrictions imposed by the quota system and the definition of tight operating hours, it at least offers the chance of achieving optimised cycle schedules and ensuring hub connections.

Process flow

At the end of 2010, the Dortmund City Council and the Supervisory Board had requested Dortmund Airport to submit an application to extend its operating hours due to the increased demand for air traffic. After The High Court of Administration (OVG) Münster declared the approval of the District Government of Münster dated 23 May 2014 to be illegal and unenforceable in its judgment of 3 December 2015, Dortmund Airport applied for a supplementary procedure to remedy the situation. The District Government of Münster has been provided with all the necessary expert opinions and analyses for this purpose. The shortcomings identified by The High Court of Administration (OVG) in the 2015 ruling were thus eliminated from the airport's point of view. With the approval now granted, the District Government of Münster has confirmed the necessity of the requested operating times, only to a limited extent.

Competitive situation

The changed operating hours, which will take effect immediately, are now to be implemented in order to strengthen Dortmund Airport's competitive position and stabilise its future viability. With the central location factor, it is an important competitive argument for acquiring new carriers and destinations during negotiations with airlines. However, Dortmund Airport and its modifications continue to lag behind the competitive conditions on the German domestic and European markets. When compared with the other 21 international airports in Germany, Dortmund Airport remains the airport with the strictest restrictions on operating times.

Noise protection

The current noise protection zones are now being reviewed by the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection North Rhine-Westphalia (LANUV). At present, however, it cannot be assumed that further requirements for structural noise protection measures will arise in the vicinity of the airport. Since the limit values set by the NRW Ministry of the Environment have not been reached and due to the comparatively low noise problems and noise effects compared to road and rail traffic, Dortmund Airport plays a subordinate role in the noise action planning of the City of Dortmund.