Opening of Berlin Brandenburg International Airport Delayed to 2014
The opening of Germany’s Berlin Brandenburg International Airport may once again be delayed. Peter Ramsauer, the country’s Minister for Transport, stated in an interview that the opening of the airport, which has the IATA three-letter code BER, would likely be delayed for a third time.
Earlier this year, the airport’s grand opening was rescheduled to October 27, 2013 due to problems with fire safety systems in the terminals and slow construction progress. Further construction problems include several leaks in the terminal façade and problems with the ventilation system. Now, according to internal documents from the Department of Transportation, the airport may not open until sometime in 2014.
The delay has also had an impact on the project’s budget, which was originally €2 billion and has increased to over €4.3 billion. The last delay led to additional costs of €1.2 billion.
Ultimately, the delays will be paid for by the German taxpayer as the airport’s operating company is owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, the state of Berlin, and the state of Brandenburg.
Airlines, in particular Lufthansa and Air Berlin, are also feeling financial pressure from the delays. Last week, Air Berlin CEO Hartmud Mehdorn spoke out against airport management as news of a potential possible third delay became public. Mehdorn said that the delays have cost the airline millions of euros and may take legal action to recover losses. Air Berlin was last profitable in 2007 and recently sold large parts of its topbonus frequent flyer loyalty program to Abu Dhabi-based Ethiad Airways.
(Photo: Yu Ming)