Berlin's beleaguered Brandenburg airport (BER) is expected to open for business on December 15 in time for Christmas.
But don't get too excited - it will reopen only partially. The plan is to permit a highly limited number of flights, meaning the new airport would only handle a maximum of 2,000 passengers a day.
According to Berlin's BZ newspaper, the first carriers to use the airport will be concentrated at the North Pier which is intended for use by low-cost carriers (LCCs).
The North Pier is not affected by the issues with the smoke extraction system in the main terminal building which have, so far, prevented BER from opening.
Airport management has already been negotiating with LCC Norwegian and Thomas Cook Group subsidiary Condor and, according to BZ-Berlin, Easyjet has also expressed interest in using the North Pier.
But there is no indication yet as to when the new airport will open in its entirety. It could be some years away.
The idea for a partial opening makes sense. It will test the airport's systems and utilise some of its expensive facilities.
A recent report in Spiegel.de claimed that it was costing no less than €20 million a month just to maintain the empty airport. Spiegel's website says that BER is turning out to be "Germany's most expensive construction site. Round-the-clock lighting and air-conditioning at the ghost airport contribute to energy costs even higher than those of the city's still active Tegel airport."
As previously reported in Business Traveller, the airport’s opening has been postponed four times (see online news, January 7). Will it be fifth time lucky?