The German press are once again reporting that the opening of Berlin's new airport, Brandenburg Willie Brandt International, may be delayed again and flights might not commence in October 2020.
A recent report by TÜV Rheinland suggests that the new facilities still had a backlog of 11,581 defects to be fixed at the beginning of March, 9407 of which are said to be "significant deficiencies".
To some eyes the new terminal at Berlin Brandenburg Airport looks ready for business, although new reports suggest there is still much work to do. (FBB)
At the same time, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg has refuted allegations that dismantling of media ducts in the terminals would be necessary. FBB did however admit that cable trays need to be widened. It went on to say that this work will be completed by the end on May and it will not compromise the proposed October 2020 opening date. Less than a month ago, the smoke extraction system that has been the cause of some delays, had its final test and was approved by TÜV Rheinland (Technical Inspection Association).
Although there is no confirmation that the opening will again be delayed, the latest report casts doubt as to whether there is sufficient time to fix all the problems in the next 18 months. The airport operator says that rectification is being organised and coordinated by a central project management service which is overseeing ten teams dealing with items such as facility management, security, emergency management and traffic management.
Meanwhile, Berlin Brandenburg Airport has started to allocate space in the new terminal to prospective airlines. Lufthansa and easyJet will move into the new central terminal, Eurowings will go into Terminal 2 (an extension to the new facility which is currently being constructed), while Ryanair will remain in the old Schonefeld facilities that will become terminal 5. Another 80 airlines will be assigned space over the next few weeks.
Prof Dr.-Ing. Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said: "Preparations for operations at BER are entering a new phase. The airport, the airlines and other partners have all been individually busy with the start of airline operations, and now we are starting joint preparations together. In order to have a good quality of service from day one, we need this long joint preparation phase – this aspiration motivates us all."
Berlin's new airport was originally expected to open in October 2011, but has been beset by problems since construction started 13 years ago. May 8, 2019 marked seven years since the official opening, which was cancelled with less than one month's notice, was due to take place. Berlin Tegel Airport will close once Brandenburg opens, although throughput at Tegel and Schonefeld have already exceeded the design capacity of the new facilities.
Text © The Aviation Oracle