German airports ramp up for World Cup traffic

 - September 20, 2006, 5:06 AM

Special slot procedures will be in place at about 20 German airports during the World Cup soccer tournament, which runs from June 9 to July 9. About 60 games are being hosted in Berlin, Hamburg, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Leipzig, Cologne, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Hannover and Kaiserslautern and are expected to draw a significant number of corporate aircraft to airports in and around these cities.

Between June 6 and July 11 priority for slots will be given to aircraft carrying teams and spectators for the World Cup games. According to flight-planning specialist Feras, business aircraft crews bringing passengers to the event should apply for slots as early as possible to or from any of the following airports: Dusseldorf, Frankfurt Main International, Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin Schoenefeld, Tegel and Tempelhof, Hamburg, Leipzig and Nuremberg.

Suitable alternate airports are Hamburg (Lubeck or Bremen); Hannover (Braunschweig or Paderborn); Gelsenkirchen (Cologne or Dortmund); Dortmund (Gelsen- kirchen or Cologne); Leipzig (Dresden or Erfurt); Cologne (Gelsen- kirchen or Dortmund); Kaiserslautern (Frankfurt Hahn or Saarbrucken); and Stuttgart (Baden-Baden).

Mathias Schlarb of Feras’ Frankfurt office urges operators to make an early start on planning, avoid peak dates and be aware of alternative possibilities. Feras also recommends the use of a local handler as a single point of contact for handling, slots, hotel reservations and crew transport.

Slots available at the largest German airports are permanently coordinated by a central body called FHKD, or Airport Coordination Germany in English. This is the case at Berlin (all three airports), Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart. During the World Cup, Hamburg, Leipzig and Nuremberg will be moved temporarily into the category of slot-coordinated airports.

At all these airports, allocation of a slot is necessary for every takeoff and landing. FHKD has established a priority list for access to these airports during the championship. Top priority is granted to scheduled and pre-booked charter flights, followed by large aircraft carrying soccer teams and spectators, then other large commercial aircraft, while executive aircraft with only a few passengers are low on the list.

Slots can be requested directly from FHKD via SITA FRAZRXH, or via handlers and flight-planning organizations.

Executive travelers going to Frankfurt during the soccer championship can divert to nearby Egelsbach or Frankfurt Hahn, which is about 50 miles from downtown.

In Munich, Oberpfaffenhofen could be temporarily open for executive aircraft in case of overload at Munich, with Augsburg another alternative.

Berlin has a well equipped and large general aviation airfield with Tempelhof, but crowding during the days before and after the final game in early July could be such that executive aircraft not connected to the games might have to divert as far away as Leipzig.

As the traffic load at airports being used for World Cup movements might change quickly before and during the games, it is advisable to plan early and to stay in touch with local partners for fresh information. More information about the slot system is available at cms/39+M52087573ab0.html.