A special message to all IAOPA-Europe members from AOPA Germany
AOPA Germany would like to draw your attention to their battle to preserve the only paved and unrestricted airfield in the Munich area for general aviation.
The future of Fürstenfeldbruck is not just an issue for pilots in Bavaria or in Germany. Fürsti is a vital link in the network of airfields that makes general aviation a feasible travel option for all of us. If Fürsti is lost, we are all diminished. We are all fighting to keep our airfields open, but the battle for Fürsti is the most important such campaign in Europe at present.
Many pilots have sent emails to the would-be operators of Fürsti, the car company BMW, pointing out that GA pilots are not helpless, that they spend serious money on cars, that BMW has many rivals who produce good vehicles, and that they will in future take BMW’s behaviour over Fürsti into account when making car purchase decisions. There has been some success with this approach, especially given that a large number of GA pilots control car fleets, and a Europe-wide approach may make the difference between success and failure. Contact details are at the end of this enews.
There is no need for BMW to shut GA out of Fürsti. AOPA Germany has demonstrated that the test track they wish to establish there could live in harmony with aviation; we only want to be allowed to keep one small corner of the former military airbase. BMW’s dog-in-the-manger attitude is extraordinary, coming from a company with a strong aviation heritage – BMW engines powered some of the best aircraft of the piston fighter era, their badge is a stylised propeller, and they house their Gulfstream and Falcon corporate jets at Munich International – which is not available to GA.
Fürsti had the support of the Bavarian Government to be Munich’s GA airport until three years ago, when BMW demanded to use the airport as a test track for cars. There need be no conflict, as there is ample room on the airport for all. But BMW, which has enormous political influence in Bavaria, wanted it all and refused to speak to GA. Operations at Fürsti had to stop on June 22nd when the military abandoned the airport while civilian certification was still pending. The Bavarian Administration Court is expected to rule this autumn on the political and administrative processes which led to the current situation. AOPA Germany and Munich Flying Club are shareholders of the Fürsti operating company, which is suing the Bavarian Government over the certification process and the closure of Fürsti. They have high hopes of winning the case.
This affects you because Fürsti is an important link in the European aviation chain which, once broken, cannot be repaired. To put it in terms that BMW can understand, it’s like closing the only service station on a motorway – it would make driving impossible. It’s not a local issue.
*Are you considering buying a new car? Do you want to buy a car from a manufacturer that is actively engaged in destroying a GA airport? Please voice your opinion to BMW via e-mail to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. Local BMW dealers will want to hear what has influenced their buying-decision, so they can report to the BMW HQ. Please send a copy to email@example.com.
BMW calls the shots in Bavaria, but it is sensitive to commercial reality. We are a powerful car-buying constituency, and we can speak to BMW in a language they understand.
The nearest comparable GA airfield to Fürstenfeldbruck is 60 km away at at Ingolstadt – home of Audi.