Opening of New Berlin-Brandenburg Airport Delayed to 2013
Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, which was to have opened on June 3, will not open until March 17, 2013.
The most recent delay was caused by the lack of fully functional smoke extractors, but airport officials had hoped that the airport would open in August. It is now clear that there are other problems that need to be addressed before the airport bearing the IATA code BER can open to the public.
The latest delay was announced to the media by Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit.
“This is a gigantic embarrassment for Berlin, and the whole world is laughing about it,” Air Berlin CEO Hartmut Mehdom told Der Spiegel magazine.
Also known as Willy Brandt Airport, named after the Cold War-era German chancellor and Berlin mayor, the airport was originally scheduled to have opened last year.
The delay is causing difficulties for airlines and passengers, as thousands have booked flights that would either arrive at or depart from BER starting June 3. The city’s two existing airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, were to have closed on June 2. (Berlin’s third airport, Tempelhof, closed in 2008.) They will continue to operate until BER opens in 2013.
Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier, and Air Berlin are the two main operators and together will be responsible for roughly 60% of the new airports’ flights. The airport will also be a hub for Germania, Easyjet, and Germanwings.