Flughafen Wien AG: First instance ruling lists over 460 individual requirements for the protection of residents and the environment
Numerous relief measures for residents already implemented following Europes largest mediation process
Flughafen Wien AG confirms the receipt of the first instance ruling on the environmental impact assessment for the third runway. The ruling lists over 460 individual requirements for the protection of residents and the environment. This first instance ruling represents an important step to sustainably safeguard the future of the location and numerous jobs, not only at the airport, but also throughout the entire economic and tourism region of eastern Austria.
Ruling requires minimisation of flight noise
The ruling clearly states that the goal is to create an optimised system which minimises the impact of flight noise on affected residents. Examples of the specific requirements are visual and noise protection walls, extensive ecological countermeasures on an area of 5 million m² and noise protection measures that are operational where ground noise is actually expected ? similar to the Flughafen Wien noise protection programme. The current noise thresholds, which were defined by the mediation contract, are even stricter than the limits set by the ruling and will continue to form the valid benchmark for Flughafen Wien. The ruling also includes many other requirements, which will be evaluated by Flughafen Wien in the coming weeks.
Most expensive environmental impact assessment in Austria
The first instance ruling was proceeded by the most extensive environmental impact assessment process in Austria to date. With a duration of five years and 35 experts for 38 technical areas, the evaluation was particularly far-reaching and exact. A total of 1,331 objections from 50 parties were dealt with ‑ at first glance an apparently high number, but actually a limited scope for a project of this size. In comparison: over 100,000 objections were filed against the third runway in Munich.
Residents involved from the beginning: Europes largest mediation process
This comparatively low number of objections should be viewed against the backdrop of a mediation process that is unique in Europe. It involved Flughafen Wien, its partners Austro Control and Austrian Airlines as well as affected residents, citizens initiatives, local communities and provinces. The negotiations lasted from 2000 to 2005 and resulted in binding civil law agreements that far exceed legal requirements. For example, night flights were reduced and a wide range of noise reduction measures was approved. A total of 2,500 households will be equipped with sound-proof windows, whereby 90% of this work has already been completed. In agreement with Austro Control, different flight routes were established and many other compensatory measures were defined for the involved residents and communities.
Implementation of measures for residents already started
The regulations defined by the mediation agreement for the construction of a third runway have already produced numerous benefits for local residents. Many of the related measures are now operational: the night flight rule to reduce the number of take-offs and landings, the noise protection programme with financial subsidies for sound-proofing adaptations in many households and the noise tariff model that uses noise-based surcharges and discounts to the airport fees as a means of motivating the airlines to use quieter aircraft. Flughafen Wien has always been committed to these agreements and will also support them in the future. The dialogue forum, which was founded after the end of the mediation process, represents the continuation of this long-standing exchange. It provides a platform for all parties ? citizens initiatives, local communities and Vienna Airport ? to discuss current issues and develop solutions for problems.
Increase in ground capacity will be needed starting in 2020
The capacity of the two existing runways will, from the current point of view, be exhausted beginning in 2020. These runways are aligned in a V-shape and, consequently, cannot be fully used as separate traffic areas. As a result, the airport actually has only 1.6 instead of two runways. Vienna Airport serves as a key hub for Lufthansa and AUA, above all to the CEE region. Slots for connecting flights are in high demand, especially at the beginning and the end of the day, but are already scarce at these popular times. Without additional capacity, the airlines will face a lack of growth perspectives beginning in 2020. The foreseeable consequence would be a gradual shift by major airlines away from Vienna. The third runway is therefore necessary to safeguard the economic future of Vienna Airport. The earliest possible start of construction by Flughafen Wien on this project would be 2016.
Hub function necessary for Austrias economy
Nearly 20,000 men and women work in over 200 companies at Vienna Airport. Every increase of one million passengers creates roughly 1,000 additional jobs. In addition, a further 50,000 jobs throughout Austria are currently dependent on the airports success. That makes Vienna Airport the regions most important job creator. The relocation of airlines and a decline in the offering of destinations would have a substantial negative effect on the Austrian economy. Through its hub function to the CEE region, the airport is particularly important for the hundreds of companies that have chosen Vienna as their headquarters for Eastern Europe. Many of these companies would have to relocate their CEE head offices if it were no longer possible to reach the major East European cities directly from Vienna. This would lead to a massive drop in purchasing power and the loss of numerous jobs. Vienna Airport, in its role as a modern infrastructure company, therefore represents a key factor for prosperity and growth, not only for Lower Austria and Vienna, but also for the entire country.
For additional information contact: Flughafen Wien AG Press Office
Peter Kleemann (+43-1-) 7007-23000
Clemens Schleinzer (+43-1-) 7007-22399
Stefanie Tomanek (+43-1-) 7007-26939