German carmaker BMW is making no secret of its desire to eliminate general aviation operations at the Fürstenfeldbruck airport. Fürstenfeldbruck—better known as “Fursty”—once served as a joint US-German NATO fighter/bomber/reconnaissance base in the Cold War, but is now a joint-use airport that has a GA flying club. It was also the site of the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes during the Summer Olympics. The airport, owned by the Bavarian government, was to remain for use by GA until three years ago, when BMW proposed buying the site. BMW, a major employer in Bavaria with considerable political clout, wants to use the airport as a test track and close the 9,000-foot-long runway. (See “GA and the Environment: Euro-vironment,” in the July 2009 AOPA Pilot).
IAOPA-Europe has been extremely proactive in fighting to preserve GA at Fursty, pointing out that it’s the nearest GA airport to Munich, and that the only other nearby GA airport is at Ingolstadt (home of Audi), some 37 statute miles away. AOPA-Germany continues to emphasize that BMW and GA can coexist at Fursty, saying that GA would only need one small corner of the former airbase. AOPA-Germany and the Munich Flying Club are shareholders of the Fursty operating company, which is suing the Bavarian government over upcoming certification rules, which would finally turn the site over to complete civilian use.
AOPA-Germany is also urging all GA pilots to register their protest directly with BMW. Opinions can be sent to BMW at its customer service e-mail address or its German address. Please send a copy to AOPA-Germany.
“Are you considering buying a new car? Do you want to buy from a manufacturer that is actively engaged in destroying a GA airport?” asked Michael Erb, managing director of AOPA-Germany. “GA pilots spend serious money on cars, and BMW has many rivals who also produce good cars. Local BMW car dealers will want to hear what has influenced buying decisions, so they can report to BMW headquarters.”