Austrian Expansion on Hold

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Vienna Airport has appealed against a court ruling banning the construction of a third runway at the Austrian hub.  The facility has been lobbying for an additional runway, to be built to the southeast of the airfield, for several years amid claims its existing infrastructure was close to maximum capacity.

However, its plans were dealt a blow on February 18 when Austria’s Federal Administrative Court blocked the proposal, claiming the positive aspects of the new runway did not justify its environmental impact and extra carbon dioxide emissions.

Launching its challenge on March 23, the airport said: “An extraordinary appeal has been filed with the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court on grounds of unlawfulness of content, serious procedural violations, inconsistency in the reasoning underlying the court decision and an inconceivable interpretation of the law.”

Julian Jäger, a management board member of Vienna Airport operator Flughafen Wien added: “In terms of its contents, the court decision is indecisive and contradictory.  On the one hand, the court found that there would be further passenger growth at Vienna Airport, and that there is a need for an additional runway for aircraft to take off and land.  However, it does not deal with the issue of where this need will be diverted if the runway is not built.”

Jäger noted that banning a third runway at Vienna will force passengers and airlines to use neighbouring airports.  This, he said, would cost the facility around 30,000 new jobs and would have a significant impact on Austria’s economy and tourism industry.

The appeal hearing is still to be scheduled.  (Photo Wikicommons/Hansueli Krapf)

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