Opening of New Berlin Airport Delayed (Again)
BERLIN —The opening of Germany’s Berlin Brandenburg International Airport has been once again delayed. As reported today by the German news channel N-TV and several German newspapers, the opening of the German capital’s new international airport will take place at the earliest in March 2016. The opening of the airport was initially scheduled for October 2011 but has been delayed several times due to issues with the construction planning and problems with the building’s fire safety system.
According to Hartmu Mehdorn, CEO of the airport’s operation company Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, the new delay was caused by several reasons that include the unplanned reconstruction of the northern runway thanks to stricter rules for noise protection.
In a widely-circulated internal document sent by Mehdorn to the regional parliament of Brandenburg, he predicted that the opening would at the earliest take place in March 2016 if no other problems crop up. He also wrote that the highly-publicized work on the building’s fire safety system is significantly running behind. A test of the airport’s north Terminal using volunteers as passengers that was originally scheduled for July 2014 has already been cancelled.
The cost of the delays continues to add up. The cost of the project has already tripled to €5 billion, of which €1.2 billion is a direct result of the fire safety system cost overruns. Since the airport is owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, the state of Berlin, and the state of Brandenburg, the increase in costs will ultimately be borne by the German taxpayer.
The problems at Berlin Brandenburg are having an impact on German airlines as well. German flag carrier Lufthansa as well as Air Berlin have already revised their schedules several times due to the earlier delays and must once again do so.
There is one note of irony in the affair. Berlin Brandenburg CEO Hartmud Mehdorn is the former CEO of Air Berlin and must now explain the latest delays to his successor, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)