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Frankfurt airport expansion approved

A German court on Friday approved a €4-billion ($6-billion) expansion of Frankfurt International Airport, Europe's third busiest, rejecting complaints by residents.

Frankfurt airport expansion approved
Photo: DPA

The Hessian administrative court in the city of Kassel said construction on a fourth runway, a third terminal and a cargo and maintenance centre could begin but upheld strict limits on night flights.

The court said it had received more than 200 complaints against the plans, of which it selected 13 as test cases. Most were based primarily on objections to noise pollution and the planned felling of trees in a nearby forest. But it said that the projected economic benefit for the region around Germany’s business and finance capital trumped such issues.

“The court ruled that no fundamental concerns stood in the way of the plan to expand Frankfurt Main Airport,” it said. “With the expansion, Frankfurt’s role as a hub for international air traffic will be secured and strengthened.”

Several parties said, however, that they were planning to appeal to a federal court.

Traffic at Frankfurt airport is expected to leap to 88.6 million passengers by 2020 from 53.5 million last year, according to investor forecasts judged as realistic by the court. It also signalled approval of existing restrictions on flights between

11:00 pm and 5:00 am.

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FRANKFURT

Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.

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