Air Berlin criticises airport delay

9 May 2012 by BusinessTraveller

Air Berlin has expressed its “great disappointment” at the delayed opening of Berlin Brandenburg airport.

As reported by Business Traveller yesterday (see online news May 8), the airport will now not open on June 3 as planned, due to problems with fire security systems. A new opening date has yet to be announced, but is likely to be after Germany’s summer holiday period.

Air Berlin’s CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said that the airline would have to “work around the change of plan” presenting the carrier with “a huge challenge”, “logisitical problems for all involved”, and “additional costs which have yet to be calculated”.

He added that Air Berlin’s new hub at Brandenburg airport has been “conceived in such a way that Air Berlin aircraft fly to Berlin from different locations in a system of six traffic waves each day”, enabling passengers to change planes “in a very short time”, something that “cannot simply be put into operation at Tegel Airport”.

However the carrier said that it has assigned a task force to adapt its expanded flight schedules to the existing facilities at Berlin Tegel airport, adding that “experts from our Flight Scheduling, Revenue Management and Service Center Teams have been advising on the operational processes necessary to ensure that Berlin’s leading airline can operate its schedule of planned and reserved flights”.

Mehdorn said that “The situation is extremely tricky, as we have to contact at least one million passengers individually to inform them about their airport of departure or arrival.

“In addition, Air Berlin’s expanded and more ambitious flight schedule, planned for BER, now has to be handled using the old infrastructure at Tegel Airport, in the summer season, of all times.

“We must apologise to our passengers for this temporary arrangement; we ourselves are finding it difficult to live with.”

He added that the carrier needed “a new and reliable date for the opening of the airport, preferably after the end of our summer schedule”.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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