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Will Berlin airport’s revised opening date be met?

16 Aug 2012 by BusinessTraveller

Speculation in the German media suggests that the opening of the new Berlin airport (BER) could be further delayed.

Originally Berlin’s Brandenburg airport should have opened in June this year. But as we reported extensively the inauguration was postponed until March 17 next year owing to problems with the fire safety systems (see online news May 17).

According to reports in Der Tagesspiegel and Zeit Online it appears that even this revised date will not be met.

As a result the first flights to use BER may not be until summer or autumn of next year.

As one resident noted on a blogpost, “The airport entering service is like the B787 entering service. You never know until it actually happens.”

Secrecy surrounds exactly what is happening at BER but what is known is that the extra costs associated with the delay mean that the airport operating company is no longer credit worthy.

Besides the modifications to the fire systems, the authorities now find that tens of thousands of local residents will need to have their properties soundproofed against aircraft noise owing to a mix-up in planning flight paths.

The total cost of compensation is currently Euros 1.17 billion but this will rise if the opening is further postponed.

Other associated firms losing revenue include the many concessions in and around the airport, the most significant of which is BER’s brand new first class 322-room Steigenberger hotel, which is now ready for business but which management is having to ‘mothball’ until BER finally opens.

Meanwhile readers report that Berlin’s other airport of Tegel (which should have closed when BER opened) has become increasingly strained as many more passengers than planned are having to use its facilities.

Businesstraveller.com will bring you further news about the BER saga as soon as it is available.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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