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Schoenherr Helps Vienna International Airport Achieve Final Permission to Construct Third Runway

Schoenherr Helps Vienna International Airport Achieve Final Permission to Construct Third Runway

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Schoenherr has successfully advised the Vienna International Airport and the province of Lower Austria on the successful application for permission to construct a third runway at the Vienna International Airport.

The permit to build the third runway at the airport was confirmed by the Austrian High Administrative Court on March 18, 2019. All appeals by the opponents of the project were rejected, meaning that there are no legal obstacles to the implementation of the project.

In February 2017, the Austrian Federal Administrative Court had prohibited the construction of the third runway due to climate protection concerns. The airport then filed a complaint with the Austrian Constitutional Court, which reversed the AFACs decision, leading ultimately to the March 18 decision.

Schoenherr Partner Christian Schmelz commented, "According to EU law, a distinction must be made between the aviation industry and the airport. The aviation industry is subject to the emissions trading system; worldwide aircraft operators are obliged to keep emissions low, as they can influence aircraft emissions. An EU-wide emissions trading system already exists, and a worldwide emissions trading system is planned. The airport, on the other hand, is only responsible for the airport's emissions. The third runway will not increase but rather reduce climate-relevant emissions at the airport; Vienna International Airport will achieve CO2 neutrality, as early as five years after implementation."

According to Schmelz a straight approach flying over Vienna to the third runway was never on the cards. The approved curved approach to the third runway is expected to reduce the number of flights over the city area, so that the third runway will actually ease the burden for the City of Vienna.

The Schoenherr team was led by Partner Christian Schmelz, supported by Attorney at Law Benjamin Schlatter and Associates Christian Holzer and Christoph Jirak.  

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