* Ministry approves new fee structure at Frankfurt airport
* Incentives for carriers that grow passenger numbers
* Lufthansa says decision puts it at a disadvantage
(Recasts with Lufthansa response, adds Ryanair comment, detail
BERLIN, Dec 2 The German state of Hesse has
approved an amended fee proposal for Frankfurt airport for 2017,
allowing operator Fraport to increase fees but
angering the airport's main customer Lufthansa.
Irish budget carrier Ryanair announced last month
plans to start flying from Frankfurt airport next year,
prompting calls from Lufthansa for airport operator Fraport to
lower fees for all carriers.
The Hesse economy and transport ministry said in a statement
on Friday that one aspect of the new structure awards incentives
to airlines that increase their passenger numbers from the
airport, such as by opening up a new route or increasing
The ministry said, however, it was easier for new airlines
to grow more rapidly than airlines already serving the airport.
Lufthansa, which accounts for two thirds of passenger volume
at Frankfurt, said in response it would also be proportionally
hit harder by an overall 1.9 percent increase in fees for
take-offs and landings and was therefore examining its options
regarding the decision.
"We feel that we have been put at a disadvantage in
comparison with airlines that are new to flying out of
Frankfurt. It can't be possible for two airlines to fly the same
route but pay different fees," Lufthansa board member Harry
Hohmeister said in a statement.
Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Ruxandra Haradau-Doeser said
Lufthansa would likely have to increase passenger numbers by at
least 3 percent a year to benefit from the incentives.
A spokesman for Ryanair said the carrier would not comment
on its commercial arrangements.
Fraport, which has seen passenger growth slow this year,
said it welcomed the approval, adding that it meant higher fees
for noisier planes, and the incentives would help boost
Haradau-Doeser said the fee increase would likely lead to a
small upwards revision of analyst estimates for Fraport's 2017
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen; Editing by