Here are AOPA (Germany) comments on BMW’s reply:
Dear supporter of the Fuerstenfeldbruck GA airport,
The feedback we get from aviators from all over the world is just overwhelming. We have received close to 300 emails, so we are unfortunately not able to respond to all of you individually. But let us thank you cordially for the support of the Fuerstenfeldbruck Airport, it is good to see that we from AOPA-Germany are not fighting alone!
In the meanwhile most of you should have received a reply from BMW´s Director responsible for driver training Dr. Kay Segler, which is very well written but simply not credible in its central statements.
Statement #1: The flying usage is not in any way influenced by BMW
Dr. Segler says the grievances of private and business aircraft pilots are understandable, but that an anti-airfield group in Maisach is to blame. “The decision as to whether and, if so, how flying operations are to be conducted in future must lie with the community,” he writes.
AOPA Germany says: The Fuersti Airport Project had the full support of the Bavarian Federal States’ authorities and politicians until BMW appeared on the scene to support the Maisach ‘antis’ and claim the airport for itself. Maximilian Schöberl, BMW’s head of politics and communication, wrote to Peter Driessen, CEO of the Munich Chamber of Commerce, that BMW is ‘disappointed and annoyed’ over the Chamber’s continuing support for the Fürsti Airport Project. He quotes BMW’s CEO Norbert Reithofer as having requested a neutral position from the Chamber.
It’s hard to under-estimate the political influence that BMW has in Munich. It’s difficult for anyone in authority to go against the company. The Bavarian Minister of Economics Martin Zeil has stated in written that “plans for the airfield’s closure are insistently supported by BMW”. It’s impossible to claim, as Dr. Segler does, that: “The flying usage of Region 14 is not in any way influenced by BMW.”
Statement #2: Not enough space for a joint flying usage
Dr. Segler says that the focal point of the driver training programme is the runway, and GA use would make it impossible to drive on it, and adds: “Any joint flying usage has been ruled out at the higher technical planning level.” AOPA Germany, however, wishes to preserve for GA only a section of the massive runway and the taxiways. The runway is 2744 meters (9000´) long and 45 meters (140`) wide. Two parallel taxiways cover the full runway length and are both 20m (60`) wide, which is as wide as a four lane highway. Finally there is an apron with the huge dimension of 500 x 215 meters (1600 x 700`). So there is definitely more than enough space for a joint usage!
Dr. Segler seems to play a very active role in conquering Fuersti for BMW. Earlier this year he had an appearance on the airport grounds driving in the car of the “BMW Race Director” leading a convoy of about 20 more BMWs. In military jargon this is called “Show of Force”. Interesting to watch, but finally the horsepower force of luxury cars will not decide in this case, the decision will be up to the judges of the Bavarian Administration Court to which we appealed.
Support from endangered Ants and Butterflies
Just very recently biologists have discovered endangered and protected species on the airport grounds. The butterfly “Plebejus Idas“ and the ant “Formica fuscocinerea“ found a perfect habitat on the airport. Whereas the Fuersti airport project has already proven in an ecological audit that it has no negative side effects on the airport´s wildlife refuge area, the non-aviation project has failed its ecological audit. Welcome to our tiny supporters, let´s live together in perfect harmony on the Fuersti airport!
There is still a chance that BMW understands the consequences of annoying their customers in the worldwide General Aviation community. The telling of fairytales has to stop. And BMW should revise its Business Plan, so far they obviously have not integrated at all or completely underestimated the reaction of the GA community as an important factor. Let´s hope they learn their lesson.
The fight for our GA airport Fuerstenfeldbruck will go on!
With best regards
Verband der Allgemeinen Luftfahrt e.V.
Dr. Michael Erb
AOPA-Germany, Verband der Allgemeinen Luftfahrt e. V.
Flugplatz, Außerhalb 27, D-63329 Egelsbach
Tel: +49 (6103) 42081, Fax: +49 (6103) 42083