The night flight ban currently in force at Frankfurt airport could leave Lufthansa Cargo facing around €50 million in additional costs each year.

Dr Christoph Franz, chairman of Lufthansa Group. said that as a result of the restriction, freight was now being loaded onto trucks for trans-shipment by road to other airports where there is no night flight ban in place. This, he said, would use 1.5 million litres of diesel annually.

The carrier is also loading five aircraft per day at Frankfurt before flying them to Cologne where they are held until international regulations permit them to take off.

Franz said the five flights between Frankfurt and Cologne will burn an additional two million litres of kerosene per year.

He described the moves as "economically and ecologically nothing short of grotesque", but he added: "However, we are forced to act in this way in order to at least maintain some of our freight turnarounds and so that we do not lose our internationally negotiated fly-over and landing rights."

On 12 October a court in Kassel banned all night flights from Frankfurt Airport from 21 October.

This will the subject of decision from the German Federal court next year, but Lufthansa warned the ruling may not give it sufficient time to adjust its summer timetable.

Franz was also highly critical of the EU's emissions trading scheme and called for its implementation on 1 January 2012 to be suspended if agreements with other countries cannot be reached by the end of the year.

"European airlines must not become victims of this kind of struggle or war," he added.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news