Stricter night time curfews recently introduced at Frankfurt airport will force Lufthansa to relocate its busy Cape Town service to Munich.
Introduced eight months ago, the new curfew at Frankfurt prohibits departures after 2300. Lufthansa’s Cape Town service departs every evening at 2215 and this restriction allows little if any leeway should a flight be delayed for any reason.
“We can’t leave our passengers stranded,” says Kratky, who provided an example of a late evening flight to Johannesburg last week whose departure was delayed because of a problem loading a container.
According to Fraport (the operator of Frankfurt) around 14,000 passengers have been stranded overnight (because their flights failed to depart on schedule) since the new curfew took effect.
Some 10,000 of these were flying Lufthansa with the remainder booked with foreign carriers. Passengers have either been accommodated at nearby hotels or have had to sleep inside the airport terminal.
Frankfurt is a major airline hub so only passengers who originate there will be inconvenienced as Lufthansa holds a monopoly for this route.
Lufthansa passengers connecting from other airports in Germany or elsewhere in Europe will be offered connections to Cape Town via Munich. In a way this is no hardship as our readers report that Munich is more “transit friendly” than Frankfurt.
But these strict curfews which exist at most of Europe’s big airports are yet another way in which the region’s aviation industry is being handicapped compared with the situation existing in Asia and the Middle East.
Note that Lufthansa has not made any official announcement yet. So its revised flight schedules for Cape Town, from the start of the winter timetable, do not presently appear on lufthansa.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter