Will Berlin airport be delayed yet again?

14 Nov 2012 by BusinessTraveller

This week comes news that the opening of Berlin’s new Brandenburg airport could be delayed for the third time.

Readers of this website will know that this new airport was due to open in June. At the last minute the opening was postponed to March of next year and, a few months ago, it was then announced that Berlin’s opening would be further delayed until October 2013 which would coincide with the airlines’ winter timetables.

Now comes news that Berlin could be delayed beyond October of next year. According to the respected German newspaper Die Welt continuing problems with the fire protection equipment mean that parts of the airport terminal may have to be partially demolished in order to rebuild the systems.

In a bid to get the project back on track, the airport authority recruited expertise in the shape of Horst Annan in June. 

Herr Amann, Berlin’s new technical director, had previously overseen the construction of the new runway at Frankfurt and had been involved in the planning of the latter’s new Terminal 3.

But now according to Die Welt, “Horst came with the hope of the BER [getting the project back on track] but the new technical director to the great surprise of all parties also cannot work magic .... defects in the fire protection system can make the start date of October 2013 wobble even more than it already has.”

Die Welt brands the Berlin airport project as “the most chaotic building site in Germany.” 

In the meantime, Tegel, the city’s main existing airport (and an airport which should have closed down last June) must struggle to cope with a greater than expected number of passengers and their luggage.

And the construction costs of Berlin’s new airport continue to rise as various bodies, including some of the airlines and rail operator DB (Deutsche Bahn) will be asking to be compensated for the ongoing delays.

It must be stressed that the October 2013 remains the official opening date. If there is a further delay in opening Berlin then one would hope that the Berlin authorities will make an announcement soon.

Report by Alex McWhirter

UPDATE: In a statement issued by Berlin airport after we had gone to press, Horst Amann, the airport's chief operating officer says "Although the opening date of October 27 next year stands, work still needs to be done. This work will take until February 2013. Public speculation about 'parts of the terminal having to be ripped up' is not true."

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