As we have reported on numerous occasions, Berlin’s new Brandenburg airport (BER) should have been up and running years ago.
Until now construction and safety issues have postponed the opening until 2017.
Now comes news that even that date will not be met and indeed, according to Spiegel.de, the airport may never open at all.
The latest problem which was discovered last week will postpone the opening indefinitely.
According to franceinfo.fr the ceiling within the terminal building has been found to be too heav
Yet the opening of BER cannot come soon enough. The city’s existing airports, Tegel and Schonefeld, are operating well in excess of capacity.
Last December, we reported that the Berlin airports authority had agreed that Tegel (the city’s main international airport) would be given a €20 million makeover to keep in running until BER opened (see news December 2014).
Tegel would then be closed soon after which would mean that Berlin would in future rely solely on BER.
It was also planned that Berlin’s secondary Schonefeld facility (which actually occupies the same airfield as BER) would be closed at that time.
German aviation magazine, airportzentrale.de reports that the latest problem has led to Brandenburg’s CEO Karsten Muhlenfeld leaving the company.
In a statement, the airport authority said, “There is no question we are currently in a difficult phase of the project. However we will proceed without compromise.”
However do not despair. It is not all doom and gloom for passengers.
As mentioned above, Tegel is getting a makeover. Futhermore €65 million will be spent on expanding Schonefeld to cope with growing passenger volumes, according to airportzentrale.de.
There will be more terminal capacity (to come on stream in 2016 and 2017) and a section for government aviation.
A new low-cost airlines terminal, intended for carriers like Ryanair (which has a growing presence in Germany), Easyjet and Eurowings will also be built.
It means that by 2023 Schonefeld will be able to handle 40 million passengers.
Ironically these developments will make Schonefeld 25 per cent larger (in terms of passenger numbers) than BER (whose initial capacity is 27 million passengers).
In Germany, the BER project is considered to be a joke and it reflects badly on Berlin’s reputation.
Recently critics have suggested BER be torn down and rebuilt. However with Tegel remaining operational and with the expansion at Schonefeld, one wonders whether BER will ever open at all.