Here’s the reply I got from BMW’s Kay Segler, Director of BMW M GmbH about their intentions regarding Fürstenfeldbruck airfield.
You contacted our customer support on the issue of the future use of the Fürstenfeldbruck airfield. Since I am familiar with the views of the AOPA and with the way the presumed facts are being presented, it is important to me as Director of BMW M GmbH – and thus responsible for BMW Driver Training – to give you a reasoned and objective response.
For some time now we have been the target of such reproaches as you have reiterated in your letter. We accept that this is a one-sided view on the part of the AOPA, since the grievances felt by the private and business aircraft pilots are understandable. But even though you may already have formed an opinion, it is important to me to be able to present the facts from our point of view:
In the interests of their citizens, the adjacent Communities have for many years backed a non-flying usage of the site – long before BMW and the other investors became involved as subsequent users. Since the Maisach / Fürstenfeldbruck Communities have sole planning competence for the future use of the site, they are directing this towards their own interests; the relevant political framework has been set up for this.
Since the start of our involvement some 4 years ago, we have pursued a clear policy: We are happy to present our own plans for the subsequent usage of the site because, through our driver safety training programme, we can make an important contribution to road safety. However, the decision as to whether and, if so, how flying operations are to be conducted in future must lie with the Community.
One specific reproach is that we could surely draw up joint plans with the pilots. However, the following must be taken into account here:
Requests for continued flying usage should not be directed at us as subsequent users of the site, but at the Community. This is something we invariably pointed out in all discussions during the planning stages. In the meantime, however, any (joint) flying usage has been ruled out at the higher technical planning level. This is binding for all public planning authorities.
From BMW’s perspective, too, the following facts argue against the proposal for joint usage presented by the citizens’ action group “Aufsteigen mit Fürsty” (Rising with Fürsty): The runway is the focal point of our driver training programme. Flight operations so far had have approval for 20,000 movements a year. At maximum capacity that would mean an average of 55 take-offs and landings a day. Shared usage of the runway – which would peak at weekends, moreover –would make it impossible to carry out our driver safety training.
All those involved must be clear on one thing here: The flying usage of Region 14 is not in any way influenced by BMW. A legal decision and viewpoint on this have been reached.
Since the end of January, the AOPA has also been involved in the “Aufsteigen mit Fürsty” action group, and we have received numerous letters. Naturally we take these seriously, since they point the finger firmly and indiscriminately at BMW – presumably as we appear to be the most convenient target. In order to explain our stance we have collated the facts in a standard letter of reply, as well as responding personally to many enquiries and telephoning customers. This letter again summarises the facts as they currently stand.
I myself have been in touch with the AOPA and I spoke to Dr. Erb on 12.02.2010. However, it comes down to the clash of different views.
Most recently we have also been accused of destroying areas in Fürstenfeldbruck that are protected nature reserves. That is also incorrect. From the outset, all our plans have placed great value on adhering to the legal requirements. Needless to say, we will comply with all regulations.
I hope you can appreciate that we do not wish to be the target of false accusations. I am happy to take responsibility for our own plans, since the envisaged driver training centre will make an important contribution to road safety. Every year we will be teaching many thousands of participants how to respond correctly to hazards in day-to-day driving.
Dr. Kay Segler
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