Due to the flood disaster in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, the German Federal Ministry of Transport has established a restricted area. The area has now been enlarged and the duration extended until 29 July. DFS, the German air navigation service provider, has been informing airspace users and providing on-site support.
All flights to an upper limit of 5,000 feet (approx. 1,500 metres) have been prohibited in the restricted area ED-R Bad Neuenahr, which was established by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) on 16 July. The operation of model aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems is also prohibited and the prohibition includes training flights, photo flight operations and calibration flights. Initially, the restricted area – the abbreviation ED stands for Germany and the abbreviation R for restricted – was effective until 23 July. Now the time limit has been extended until 29 July and the area has been enlarged once again.
DFS is disseminating this important information to all airspace users and is offering assistance in complying with airspace restrictions. In doing so, unauthorised entries into this area can be detected on the air traffic controllers' radar systems and prevented or, if necessary, reported to the appropriate police forces on the ground.
DFS supports emergency services at the scene
The restricted area ensures the problem-free conduct of relief, rescue and reconnaissance flights by the emergency services in the disaster area. Flights of the German Federal Police, the police forces of the German Federal States (Länder), flights on behalf of or at the instigation of the police, flights in rescue and disaster control operations and flights of the armed forces (Bundeswehr) are exempt from the restrictions.
DFS quickly dispatched specialists from the flight information service (FIS) to the crisis unit in Koblenz and Bad Neuenahr. Three staff members are working on site in rotation and coordinating the flights of the police, Bundeswehr and air rescue in the airspace above the flooded area. In addition to reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems (drones) are increasingly being used in flooded areas to obtain a reliable picture of the situation and to detect specific damage – for example to houses or bridges. The FIS specialists have a mobile air situation display on site, which was also quickly dispatched, to be used for coordination.
"Air transport has special significance in the event of a disaster"
"Especially in such a disaster situation, where roads and railways have been destroyed, air transport takes on particular importance," said Dirk Mahns, COO on the DFS Executive Board. "Our deepest respect goes to the rescue and emergency workers on the ground who are doing an incredible job there. We can at least make a small contribution to supporting them by keeping the airspace clear so that they can continue to work unhindered."
Information on the location, altitude, duration, as well as a map of the ED-R restricted area Bad Neuenahr can be found here.
Telephone: +49 (0)6103 707-4161
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 30 June 2021. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Before 2020, around 2,200 air traffic controllers guided up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, more than 3 million movements every year. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. R. Eisenschmidt GmbH is another DFS subsidiary which markets publications and products for General Aviation. Kaufbeuren ATM Training (KAT) is responsible for training military air traffic services personnel. DFS has been working on the integration of drones into air traffic since 2016 and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom.