In short: airport operations in Germany



Who owns the airports?

In Germany, airports can be either state-owned, privately owned, or partly state-owned and partly privately owned. The majority of German airports are state-owned via operating companies organized under private law.


What is the system for licensing airports?

The approval/approval of airports is regulated in §§ 6 ff. Air Traffic Act (LuftVG). Airfields (airports, landing areas and glider airfields) may only be built or operated with permission. The environmental compatibility must be checked in the approval process for airfields subject to planning approval.

Before issuing a permit, the authority checks whether the planned airport meets the requirements of spatial planning and whether the requirements of nature and landscape protection as well as urban planning and aircraft noise protection have been adequately taken into account.

Plan approval is also required for airports and landing sites with restricted building protection areas.

economic regulation

Is there a system of economic regulation of airports? How does it work?

In Germany there are various forms of economic regulation of airports, such as (partial) privatization of airports, airport charges and much more.

Airport charges are mainly incurred when taking off, landing and parking aircraft and when using passenger facilities. In addition, fees are charged for the noise and emissions caused by the aircraft.

The fees serve exclusively to refinance the airport infrastructure and the resulting operating costs. Airport charges are subject to approval in Germany according to § 19b LuftVG.


Are there any laws or regulations that restrict or qualify access to airports?

Access to airports is governed by Article 15 of the Chicago Convention. According to this, a contracting state is obliged to grant aircraft of other contracting states access to an airport that is open to the public for aircraft of its own air carriers under the same conditions. Access to the airport is subject to equal treatment for domestic and foreign airlines. In addition, the slot distribution ensures access.

slot assignment

How are slots allocated at congested airports?

Airport coordination is based on EU law. The airports of Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Erfurt, Frankfurt/Main, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne/Bonn, Leipzig/Halle, Munich, Münster/Osnabrück, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken and Stuttgart are coordinated airports in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 95 /93. The slots are allocated by Flughafenkoordination Deutschland (FHKD), an independent non-profit organization funded by German airlines and airports.

ground handling

Are there any laws or regulations specific to ground handling? What are you?

In Germany, ground handling services are regulated by the Ordinance on Ground Handling Services implementing Directive 96/67/EC of October 15, 1996.

air surveillance

Who Provides Air Navigation Services? And how are they regulated?

The German ATC authority is Deutsche Flugsicherung based in Langen. Their responsibilities are defined in the Air Traffic Act:

  • air traffic control in Germany;
  • Installation and maintenance of technical devices and radio navigation systems;
  • Planning and testing of procedures and devices for air traffic management;
  • Preparation of expert reports;
  • Monitoring obstacles in limited airport areas and beyond 100 meters above the ground;
  • collection and publication of aeronautical information, data and charts;
  • regional military air traffic control in Germany; and
  • Air traffic control is carried out by airfield control (tower), approach control (terminal control) and area control monitoring (area control center).

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