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Frankfurt Airport to reward airlines for using quieter aircraft

ATW Daily News by Anne Paylor 7 Jan.14

Frankfurt Airport is implementing a new system of airport charges to reward airlines if they achieve passenger growth of more than 1% using quieter aircraft on international routes.

The reductions will be introduced retroactively during 2014 and 2015, with an additional incentive sum awarded for each subsequent year the airline can maintain the previous year’s growth in terms of the absolute number of passengers.

Known as FRAConnect, the incentive scheme has been approved by regional regulator Hessian Ministry of Economics, Transport and Urban Development (HMWVL), and applies only if the growth is achieved using advanced, low-noise aircraft. Following HMWVL’s green light, the incentive scheme became an official part of Frankfurt Airport’s charges regime Jan. 1. Frankfurt Airport charges are being raised by an average of 2.9% in 2014 compared to 2013.

Domestic traffic has been intentionally excluded from the new program because Frankfurt is trying to boost European and international traffic and enhance its role as an intercontinental hub.

For the purposes of the incentive scheme, passenger growth is measured against the previous year’s volume, with continental and intercontinental traffic treated separately. An airline is required to transport at least 7,500 departing passengers in the respective traffic segment and achieve at least 1% growth each year.

Frankfurt has 16 aircraft noise categories and only aircraft within noise categories 1 through 12 (or 1 through 11 for continental routes) qualify. The airport will refund at the end of 2014 and/or 2015 “a certain growth-dependent amount to the airline as an incentive for each additional passenger. Incentives are awarded on a sliding scale from €4 to €10 ($5.4 to $14) per passenger.”

The higher an airline’s passenger growth increases, the higher the incentive paid per passenger, with the incentive amount higher for intercontinental than continental passengers.

The overall volume of noise-related charges at Frankfurt Airport rose by more than 100% in 2013, from approximately €45 million to about €100 million, as a result of further refining noise categories. Weight-based charges have been reduced or eliminated altogether.