Wind turbines a threat to air safety

DFS and Federal Supervisory Authority provide information about hazards to aviation

12.09.2013.- At a press conference today, the German Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services (BAF) and the air navigation service provider DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung informed the press about the hazards to air traffic that can arise from wind turbines. The supervisory authority must give its approval for the construction of any wind turbines within a 15-kilometre radius of radar stations and VHF omnidirectional radio range (VOR) facilities. The director of the BAF, Nikolaus Herrmann, explained in more detail the process that must be followed to obtain construction approval, as well as the national and international regulations that govern the process. "We do not intend to block Germany's switch to sustainable energy, but we are the ones who are responsible for the safety of air traffic. At times, this means we may have to take unpopular decisions." Herrmann clarified how wind turbines are sometimes detrimental to safety and therefore permission to construct new ones has to be denied or restricted.

DFS press spokesman Axel Raab explained how navigation aids work and how wind turbines can disturb the proper functioning of these facilities posing potential hazards to air traffic. "Safety is our number one priority," Raab declared. "There is no room for compromise when it comes to safety." Whenever required, the German air navigation service provider furnishes the BAF with its expert opinion. On the basis of this, the decision is made whether permission to construct a wind turbine is denied or in any way restricted. The most important criteria in the approval process are the location, height and number of individual turbines.

DFS only gives its expert opinion on those plans that lie within the protected area of an air navigation facility. The federal authority has granted permission to more than 90 percent of all applications submitted. When approval has been denied in the past, it was frequently the case that a request had been made to expand existing wind farms by adding more wind turbines.

Contact person at BAF:

Kerstin Weber, Public relations
Telephone: ++ 49 (0)6103 / 8043 145, E-mail:

Contact person at DFS:
Axel Raab, Press spokesman of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung
Telephone: ++49 (0)6103 / 707 4160, E-mail:

The Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services (BAF) is the national supervisory authority in charge of civil air navigation service providers in Germany. It acts under the authority of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and is headquartered in Langen, south of Frankfurt. The European Commission regulations for the Single European Sky (SES) created the basis for this regulatory function.

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law and has 6,000 employees. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Staff coordinate up to 10,000 aircraft movements in German airspace every day, and about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. DFS operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich. In addition, DFS is represented in the Eurocontrol Centre in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and in the control towers of the 16 international German airports. DFS provides training and consultancy services around the world and develops and sells air traffic management systems. The company's portfolio also comprises flight-relevant data, aeronautical publications and aeronautical information services. DFS has the following business units: Control Centre, Tower, Aeronautical Solutions and Aeronautical Information Management.