German Air Traffic Control

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
DFS German air traffic control

legal form Company with limited liability
founding January 1, 1993
Seat Langen (Hessen) , Germany
  • Kerstin Böcker Managing Director Human Resources (from August 15, 2020)
  • Dirk Mahns, Managing Director Operations
  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Menge, Managing Director Technology, from March 1st, 2020
Number of employees 5,600, including around 2,200 air traffic controllers
sales EUR 1.1 billion (total sales from January 1 to December 31, 2018)
Branch Air traffic control

DFS headquarters in Langen near Frankfurt am Main
DFS building at Munich FJS Airport
DFS building in Bremen

The DFS German Air Traffic Control GmbH is a beliehenes companies part of the air traffic management of the Federation ( Art. 87d GG ). It is the exclusive property of the Federal Republic of Germany , which is represented by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The DFS emerged in 1993 from the Federal Agency for Air Traffic Control (BFS) .


The DFS was by the then Federal Ministry of Transport by law decree with the exercise of public authority for air traffic control mortgaged . Air traffic control is a special police task. The tasks of air traffic control are regulated in detail in Section 27c of the Aviation Act:

  • the air traffic control of air traffic in Germany,
  • the construction and maintenance of technical equipment and radio navigation systems ,
  • the planning and testing of procedures and facilities for air traffic control,
  • the preparation of expert opinions in accordance with Section 31 (3) LuftVG,
  • the monitoring of all obstacles in building protection areas or outside them at heights over 100 m above sea level. Reason,
  • the collection and publication of aviation information and maps,
  • the regional military air traffic control in Germany.

Air traffic control is provided as aerodrome control ( Tower ), approach control ( Terminal Control ) and district control ( Area Control Center - ACC).

The company's head office has been in Langen (Hessen) (previously Offenbach am Main ) since April 2002 , which is around 5 km from the largest German airport, Frankfurt am Main Airport . DFS runs its own air traffic control academy here to train air traffic controllers and related professions . There is also a branch of the Center for Air Operations , with which DFS works closely. With its subsidiary KAT, DFS operates another training center for military personnel in Kaufbeuren (BY).

Control centers

The air traffic control centers are divided into "ACC" ( Area Control Center ) and "UAC" (Upper Area Control Center) according to the respective area of ​​responsibility . The following control centers are responsible for German airspace:

Surname ICAO abbreviation Jurisdiction Details Location
ACC Bremen EDWW lower air space in the flight information region ( Flight Information Region , FIR) Bremen Radio call sign "Bremen Radar" Bremen Airport
ACC Langen EDGG FIR long "Long Radar" radio call sign Langen (Hesse)
UAC Karlsruhe EDUU upper airspace in the UIR (Upper Flight Information Region) Rhine; over FIR Langen and the former FIR Berlin (since March 2005) over flight level 245 and flight level 285; above FIR Munich via flight level 315 (since December 2012) Radio call sign "Rhine Radar" Karlsruhe
ACC Munich EDMM FIR Munich Radio call sign "Munich Radar" Munich Airport
UAC Maastricht (Hannover Sector) EDVV Hanover UIR (Upper Airspace - above flight level 245) "Maastricht Radar" radio call sign

Here the DFS provides the personnel to carry out military air traffic control services within the Hanover UIR. Before March 2010, the personnel were mainly officers and NCOs of the Air Force who were given leave of absence to perform special military tasks at DFS. In the meantime, all suitable employees can perform all tasks in the branch; military training is no longer required. In addition to controlling military air traffic, the DFS controllers also monitor the test and series flights of Airbus, which start from Finkenwerder and are also in the upper airspace as part of their flight profiles. Civil air traffic in the Hanover UIR is controlled by the UAC Maastricht "Maastricht Radar" ( Eurocontrol ).

Maastricht Aachen Airport

The former FIR Berlin (more precisely: Berlin-Schönefeld) covered the area of ​​the former GDR including Berlin and had the identifier ETBN (ACC in Schönefeld in Brandenburg), which is no longer used today; the country code ET of the GDR is now used to designate pure military airfields in Germany. Within this area - spatially: underneath - there were three air corridors and the Berlin control zone, which the Allies (in Berlin-Tempelhof) monitored and were only allowed to use by them. See Berlin and air traffic control of the GDR and air bases .

In the course of reunification, the BFS took control of the entire airspace. But it was not until the ICAO IDs were changed in 1995 after their privatization that this ACC (in accordance with the DFS system) was given the name EDBB, which previously applied to Berlin-Tempelhof Airport and was renamed EDDI. These two are also no longer in use today, after the tasks in the Berlin control area were gradually shifted to Bremen, Munich and Karlsruhe on December 16, 2006. Like the control center in Munich until December 2012, it processed the airspace from the ground to flight level 660, which corresponds to 21.7 km (column model).

Control towers

DFS operates the air navigation services on behalf of and at its own expense in accordance with the BMVI at the following airports:

Air traffic control at other airports with air traffic control is not performed by DFS, but by individually hired air traffic controllers who are in the service of a certified air traffic control organization. DFS transferred these tasks to an independent company with the establishment of Tower Company GmbH on December 20, 2005 (DAS “DFS Aviation Services” since January 1, 2017). DAS is a subsidiary of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH and is based in Langen / Hessen. It is at the airfields Dortmund ( EDLW ), Paderborn-Lippstadt ( EDLP ), Frankfurt-Hahn ( EDFH ), Friedrichshafen ( EDNY ), Leipzig-Altenburg ( EDAC ), Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden ( EDSB ), Magdeburg-Cochstedt ( EDBC ), Memmingen ( EDJA ), Schwerin-Parchim ( EDOP ), Mönchengladbach ( EDLN ) and Niederrhein / Weeze ( EDLV ).

Since 2018, DFS has been operating through its subsidiary Air Navigation Solutions Ltd. (ANS) the towers in London Gatwick and Edinburgh .


The DFS emerged from the Federal Agency for Air Traffic Control (BFS). The BFS was founded in 1953 and closed on January 1, 1993. Previously, DFS was founded in a private-law organizational form as a limited liability company.


In 2004 the federal government decided to privatize DFS capital; only a blocking minority of shares should remain in federal property. In addition to the fact that air traffic control is a sovereign task with a special police character, the fact that DFS provides the supra-local military air traffic control services is of importance in terms of defense policy. Fraport and Lufthansa , among others, were interested in acquiring shares , but this would mean the risk of conflicts of interest in the work of DFS.

On October 24, 2006, Federal President Horst Köhler refused to sign the law that was supposed to enable capital privatization because of the sovereign task and the special police character of air traffic control and thus rejected it with his veto. The Federal President justified his decision by stating that the law was not compatible with the Basic Law because

  • a federal administration was designated there ( Art. 87d para. 1 sentence 1 GG);
  • it demands sufficient steering and control rights;
  • the main air traffic control facility can be relocated abroad after 20 years.

With effect from August 1, 2009 this Art. 87d GG was changed. As a result of this change, air navigation services have since also been possible by foreign air navigation service providers approved under European law. Three days later, the law to establish a federal supervisory office for air traffic control and to change and adapt other regulations came into force. This is intended to enable the desired division of supervisory and implementation tasks in air traffic control.

Evaluation of privatization

The work of DFS is rated as successful: the delays in air traffic, which in the second half of the 1980s prompted the federal government and parliament to privatize the organization of air traffic control, have fallen drastically. The following changes were made:

  • air traffic controllers are recruited and paid outside of the civil service career;
  • By integrating supra-local military air traffic control into civil air traffic control, trained air traffic controllers were available at short notice to control civil air traffic;
  • Civil aviation had better access to the airspaces that were previously used purely for military purposes;
  • the commissioning of new technical systems, the procurement of which had been initiated by the BFS, led to an increase in capacity.

Technical equipment

DFS develops and uses Linux- based software for its own purposes.


Takeover of air traffic control training for the Bundeswehr

Training for military air traffic control was transferred on January 1, 2017 from the Air Force Technical Training Center at the Kaufbeuren site ( Kaufbeuren Air Base ) to the newly founded Kaufbeuren ATM Training GmbH (subsidiary of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH), which has since been part of a public private partnership in cooperation with the Bundeswehr carries out the training and further education of all military air traffic control personnel.

Budget and fees

The running costs of DFS are covered by air traffic control fees. Route fees (collection by Eurocontrol for the 37 member states participating in the Eurocontrol fee system and transfer to DFS) and arrival and departure fees (determined by the BMVI by means of a statutory ordinance and collection directly by DFS) are collected.

According to the articles of association, DFS is a not-for-profit company . Any surpluses generated must also be paid back to airspace users in accordance with the internationally applicable principles for collecting air traffic control fees.

The Federal Audit Office criticized in an initial 2,019 submitted, secret report lack of control by the Federal Ministry of Transport. The state-owned company is "in a difficult economic situation". Without catch-up and special effects, the company made a loss in 2017. The causes included excessive operating costs due to high wages and pension benefits as well as early retirement regulations, but also risky investments with new foreign activities.

See also


  • Andreas Fecker: Fluglotsen , GeraMond Verlag, Munich, ISBN 3-7654-7217-4
  • Andreas Fecker: Profession air traffic controller. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-613-03261-3
  • Peter Bachmann: Air traffic control in Germany , Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-613-02521-3
  • German Bundestag (ed.): Law on the new regulation of air traffic control . Information from the Federal President (=  Bundestag printed paper No. 16/3262 ). Bundesanzeiger Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, October 23, 2006, ISSN  0722-8333 ( online [PDF; 55 kB ; accessed on December 20, 2013]).
  • Tashi Dolma Hinz, Patrick Holland-Moritz: 25 years of DFS. (Continuation article in three parts) In: aerokurier from No. 12/2018, pp. 88–91 to No. 2/2019, pp. 86–87

Web links

Commons : DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Change of managing director at DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH. In: January 23, 2020, accessed February 1, 2020 .
  2. DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung expands the management. In: Retrieved January 8, 2020 .
  3. As of December 31, 2019. In: . Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  4. DFS Annual Report 2018, p. 31: Consolidated statement of comprehensive income. In: . Retrieved on August 19, 2019 (PDF; 585 kB).
  5. Ordinance on the commissioning of an air navigation service provider of November 11, 1992
  6. DFS information customer relations edition 10/2012. In: Retrieved March 30, 2019 .
  7. Presence as an air navigation service provider. In: DFS Aviation Services. Retrieved February 26, 2020 .
  8. DFS Group takes over air traffic control in Edinburgh. In: Retrieved August 28, 2019 .
  9. ^ Amendment of Art. 87d GG on August 1, 2009
  10. ^ Changes by G. v. July 29, 2009 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2424 )
  11. BR -DRS 831/08 (draft law) (PDF; 196 kB)
  12. Lecture at FOSEM 2017 in Brussels by Dr. Gerolf Ziegenhain (English)
  13. DFS takes on air traffic control training for the Bundeswehr. In: March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016 .
  14. ^ Martin Tennhardt: German air traffic control takes over pilot training. In: March 2, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016 .
  15. Melanie Amann, Gerald Traufetter: Pilots with an urge to expand . In: Der Spiegel . No. 11 , 2019, pp. 22 ( online ).