It’s official. The opening of Berlin’s new Brandenburg airport (BER) is highly unlikely to take place this year.
Once again delegates arriving at the city’s famous ITB trade show in March will have to endure the city’s existing but overcrowded airport facilities.
BER’s opening has now been postponed four times. And this is for a main airport for a capital city which should have opened back in 2011.
Technical problems are the cause.
Airportzentrale.de reports that “there are problems with several hundred doors and the sprinkler system.”
“Only 20 per cent of the 1,400 doors work flawlessly.”
“In an emergency [test] it was found that the doors would not close and the sprinkler system would not start.”
“It almost sounds like a bad joke. Both problems are directly related to the smoke extraction system which has already caused problems.”
“An airport opening in 2017 moves into the far distance.”
Says the thelocal.de “the problems arose over Christmas and have made it impossible to finish construction work in January as planned. Completion of construction in January [this month] was a pre-requisite for the airport to open this year.”
Thelocal.de also says that Karl Muhlenfeld, the man responsible for the airport project, had previously said that if the 2017 deadline [for opening] is not met, then it [BER] would not open before spring 2018.
If and when BER does open the plan was to close down the city’s existing airports: Tegel and Schonefeld.
But passenger traffic is booming fuelled by low-cost airlines (LCCs) and the city’s growing attraction for international visitors.
According to dw.de, 30 million travellers passed through the city’s two airports in the first 11 months of last year. Therefore over the whole of 2016 total passenger numbers should reach 32 million.
Yet a decade ago, when construction work started at BER, the passenger total was 18.5 million.
It means that, unless there is a change of plan, if Tegel and Schonefeld close BER will be full from day one.