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Aviation: Lufthansa CEO wants changes in Berlin

Last week the German press reported that Carsten Spohr, the chairman and CEO of Lufthansa, wants Berlin Tegel Airport to remain operational after the much-delayed completion of the city's Brandenburg gateway. Spohr said his airline would keep pressing for improvements to what he called the “untenable situation” at Tegel, which opened in the 1960s and was slated to close in 2012 following the opening of the city's new airport.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has suggestd Tegel Airport should remain open after Brandenburg is completed. (Ralf Roletschek)

However, Spohr's idea is problematical because statutes require Tegel (BER) to be closed 180 days after Brandenburg opens. It would require major changes in legislation to enable the existing airport in the northwest of the city to remain operational. Plans envisaged the infrastructure would be reused for government flights, enabling the existing VIP fleet to be moved from Cologne / Bonn Airport to the capital. However, Berlin's two existing airports - Tegel and Schönefeld (SXF) - are currently handling in excess of 34m passengers per annum which is well above the design-capacity of Brandenburg.

Given the latest challenge from Spohr, its worth The Aviation Oracle reviewing the Brandenburg project and highlighting just some of the things that have gone wrong.

Delays

Work on the site of Brandenburg / Willy Brandt Airport started in 2006 with completion scheduled for 2012. It was built on a site adjacent to Schönefeld and utilises one of the existing airport's two runways - the second airstrip at SXF was closed and has been replaced with another brand new runway to enable parallel arrivals and departures.

Berlin Brandnburg Willy Brandt Airport looks complete, but the appearance is only skin deep. (FBB)