Today we will look at nighttime flight restrictions at some of Germany's busiest airports. Germany is not alone regarding nighttime flight restrictions, with most airports shutting down operations during the nighttime. This is because many airports are located in urban areas, and planes taking off and landing can disturb people trying to sleep.
Night-flying restrictions have been in place for many years, and Germany is no exception banning most aircraft from taking off and landing at night and early morning. With that in mind, here are the restrictions in place at Germany's largest airports.
Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) is the busiest airport in Germany, handling 48,923,474 passengers in 2022. Being Germany's airport of choice for international flights, Frankfurt Airport has both day and nighttime restrictions.
Aircraft that do not meet noise requirements can only use Frankfurt Airport on weekdays between 08:00 and 20:00. While operations run seven days a week, Frankfurt Airport is closed from 23:00 and 0:500. During the late evening between 22:00 and 23:00 and early mornings between 05:00 and 0:600 only 133 takeoffs and landings are permitted. Frankfurt Airport also closes runways to use others that do not overfly heavily populated areas.
Munich International Airport (MUC) serves the districts of Bavaria in southern Germany. Munich Airport is the country's second busiest, handling pre-pandemic 47,959,885 passengers in 2019. While Munich Airport does permit some nighttime flights, they are limited to aircraft that comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Chapter 3 noise standards.
Only 28 aircraft a day are permitted to land or take off between 10:00 and midnight and at 05:00 and 06:00. They must also meet one of the following criteria:
- Have a home base at Munich Airport
- Have a noise footprint of less than 75 decibels.
Since Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) opened in October 2020, a nighttime flight curfew has occurred between midnight and 05:00. Between 05:00 and 06:00 and between 23:00 and 24:00, only 31 aircraft movements are permitted. BER is Germany's third-busiest airport handling 19,845,046 passengers in 2022.
Serving the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) is Germany's fourth-busiest airport serving 16.07 million in 2022. DUS does not allow takeoffs between 22:00 and 23:00 and landings between 23:00 and 06:00.
Located in Schkeuditz, Saxony, Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) is worth a mention because it is the fifth-busiest cargo airport in Europe. During the summer months, LEJ has flights involving leisure airlines but bans them from taking off and landing between 23:30 and 05:30. Unlike passenger flights. There are no nighttime restrictions imposed on cargo flights.
The exception to nighttime flight curfews
Like most rules, there are exceptions, and nighttime flights are allowed under the following conditions:
- Aircraft diverted because of weather
- Aircraft with mechanical problems
- Aircraft with a medical or safety reason
- Evacuation and disaster flights
- Flights with special permission
Germany has become expensive to fly to and from
In recent years the German government has been encouraging its citizens to travel by rail rather than by air. To accomplish this, they have raised airport taxes and subsidized rail fares.
Because of the increased costs, many budget carriers like Ryanair and easyJet have scaled back their operations in Germany, making it one of the most expensive counties to fly to or from.