Frankfurt night-flight ban becomes permanent

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A temporary night-flight ban in place at Frankfurt International airport since last October will become permanent following a court ruling.

Germany's federal administrative court in Leipzig today upheld the previous decision by a lower regional court in Kassel to ban take-offs and landings between 23:00 and 05:00.

The average number of aircraft movements during the "whole night", from 22:00 until 06:00, will also need to be reduced from 150 planned flights to 133.

The federal court did deliver one piece of good news for the airport, however, ruling that expansion of the facility was legal.

A number of boroughs, residents and businesses around Germany's largest hub had sued the local government of Hessia - where the airport is located and which is also the largest shareholder in operating company Fraport - over the expansion plans.

The ban on night flights was implemented when the airport's fourth runway opened last October.

Previous regulations allowed up to 17 aircraft movements between 23:00 and 05:00 and up to 150 flights from 22:00 until 06:00.

Lufthansa chief executive Christoph Franz says the ruling was a "heavy blow for Germany as an industrial location" and that "one of Europe's largest hubs will fall behind the international competition".