Berlin Tempelhof airport will almost certainly close on October 31. In a public referendum held on April 27, a majority of voters– some 60 percent–favored keeping the downtown airport open, but they represented only 21.3 percent of the city’s 2.425 million electors. A quorum of 25 percent was required for the vote to qualify as a recommendation to the Berlin Senate, which was to make the final decision.
Defenders of Berlin Tempelhof airport, which is scheduled to close in October, report some progress in their bid to keep it open. As of early last month, more than half of the required votes had been gathered, and two sponsors are facilitating logistics to ensure that there are enough votes to force a public referendum.
Cabin systems supplier Intheairnet is out to prove that it can be both naughty and nice with the introduction last month of the Network and Wireless Technology Including Ethernet (Nawtie) system. The cheeky acronym takes a subtle swipe at the rival Nice (Network Integrated Cabin Equipment) system Lufthansa Technik recently introduced.
Lufthansa Technik expects to complete construction of a $71.26 million 161,000-sq-ft production facility at its Hamburg location in early 2009.
Completions of corporate and VIP aircraft were worth $111 million in sales to Lufthansa Technik last year, an increase of 20 percent over the 2001 figure. “A big VIP aircraft completion represents between 100,000 and 200,000 working hours,” noted executive board chairman August Wilhelm Hennigsen. “Currently our capacity is fully utilized through most of the third quarter.” But the market is fierce.
The Lufthansa Technik-led Platinet support program for business aircraft operators is up and running. The German aircraft maintenance and completions firm has assembled an initial group of partners for the service and is now looking to expand the geographical scope of the support network.
Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS) celebrated its 10th birthday in Berlin on Saturday night with news of an expansion plan that will see the joint venture grow its production capacity more than 30 percent over the next five years.
DaimlerChrysler Aviation, conceived as a corporate flight department in 1998 to transport the German-U.S. car manufacturer’s managers and technical staff among plants ranging as far as Stuttgart, Germany, to Detroit, Michigan, was a charter operator from its inception.
Business Aviation handling group Feras, perhaps best known for its support services network in eastern and central Europe and the CIS, continues to expand in a westerly direction. It is extending its central European base and expects to open seven new bases in Germany over the next 12 months.
Operators at Berlin Tempelhof airport last month challenged a local court recommendation that offered only to postpone closure of the downtown airport by a year, to October 31 next year. A final court decision is now delayed indefinitely. A decision to keep the airport open–limited to certain types of operational use such as business aviation–is still possible.