Low-cost carrier Ryanair is poised to throw its weight behind the local ‘Berlin braucht Tegel’ (Berlin needs Tegel) campaign.
As we explained a few days ago in our last report on ill-fated Berlin Brandenburg (BER), the city’s existing two airports – Tegel in the former Western zone and Schonefeld in the former Eastern zone – will be closed once the new facility opens.
BER’s opening has been postponed yet again, with the earliest date now likely to be sometime next year. But, having been postponed four times since 2011, there is no certainty BER’s latest 2018 opening date will be met.
Ryanair will be displaying campaign details on Berliners’ booking confirmations.
Quoted in B.Z. Ryanair marketing manager Kenny Jacobs said, “We support the idea that [capital cities like] London, Paris and Berlin have several functioning airports.”
“With the opening of BER the city’s [aviation] capacity has already been reached and so we need more [capacity].”
But analysts say Ryanair has an alterior motive in wanting Tegel to remain open.
Although it operates at Schonefeld, rather than Tegel, Ryanair realises that Berlin is already short of airport capacity even before BER opens.
Indeed some sceptics now believe BER may never open so great are its problems.
“It is important that Berlin is not prevented from growing, “Jacobs told the B.Z., “because more tourists mean more visitors, more competition and lower fees for the airlines.”
Having extra capacity would allow Ryanair to expand in future years.
Since it opened a hub at Schonefeld, Ryanair has added more and more routes out of Berlin to both domestic and European destinations.
Last September it added 16 new routes which last year saw it flying to a total of 43 destinations out of Germany’s capital city. But there’s a limit to how far Ryanair can grow at Schonefeld and Tegel is no alternative as it’s already overcrowded.
Berlin’s local FDP (Free Democratic Party) which is participating in the campaign is reported by Aerotelegrap.com as saying, “The new BER will be able to handle a maximum of 27 million passengers a year. But in 2014 alone, the city’s two existing airports (Tegel and Schonefeld) handled 28 million passengers and about two million additional passengers are being added every year.”
With Ryanair’s backing the Berlin braucht Tegel campaign stands a greater chance of success.