Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt starts operations
Tuesday November 3,2020
Kevan James reports from Berlin
The new Terminal 1 at Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) was opened on Saturday October 31 with the first two aircraft, operated by easyJet and Lufthansa, arriving at the same time and meeting on the apron. Upon arrival, the passengers, including easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, were welcomed in Terminal 1 by the head of the airport company, Engelbert Lütke Daldrup.
The official opening was also attended by the Minister-President of the State of Brandenburg, Dietmar Woidke, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Andreas Scheuer MdB, and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the airport company, Rainer Bretschneider. The first commercial flights were due to arrive at Terminal 1 later that evening, while the first easyJet flight to London Gatwick was scheduled to depart the following morning, November 1.
easyJet's first arrival (Anikka Bauer)
Berlin’s new airport has excellent transport links; on addition to its dedicated motorway connection, a new six-track railway station under Terminal 1 ensures direct access to rail services. The station had already been commissioned on 25 October 2020 and it is expected that around two thirds of passengers will reach the airport by train. Numerous bus lines also connect the airport with Berlin and the surrounding area at frequent intervals.
The airport covers a total area of 1,470 hectares, the equivalent of around 2,000 football pitches. Terminals 1 and 2 are located between the two parallel runways, while Terminal 5, the former Schönefeld Airport, is in the northern area and the two runways can be operated independently. In addition to the northern runway, which has been the main runway used so far, flights will also be operated from the southern runway starting from November 4.
The new airport concentrates all air traffic in the German capital region in one location with a total capacity of over 40 million passengers per year with 25 million passengers handled at Terminal 1. This means that sufficient capacity is available at Germany's third largest airport location. More passengers are expected to board and disembark at BER than at any other location in Germany. This modern infrastructure will allow for a significant increase in long-haul services and connecting traffic in the future.
Carrying appropriate titles, Lufthansa's initial aircraft (Anikka Bauer)
Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said: “With Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt, eastern Germany can now rely on airport infrastructure that will serve as a solid basis for the coming decades. The people here in the German capital region had to wait a long time for this day. Our customers, the passengers and airlines, will find professional standards at BER: good accessibility by train and car, reliability and safety in handling even under Coronavirus conditions, optimal service on the ground and in the air. I am very pleased that we were able to open the new airport with easyJet and Lufthansa. They are our most important partners even in these difficult times. Together, we shall overcome this crisis.”
Johan Lundgren, CEO, easyJet plc also said: “At easyJet we welcome the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport and are proud to be the first airline to fly from BER. We remain the largest airline at the metropolitan region Berlin and an important local employer. The airport offers a much-improved customer experience for easyJet customers as we will be based in the main, new terminal – Terminal 1 – and our passengers will benefit from easier and smooth connections between flights as well as with other modes like rail. Thanks to our extensive network, we look forward to continuing to connect the vibrant city of Berlin and Brandenburg region with other major European cities and holiday destinations.”
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, commented: “It is of great importance for Berlin, for Brandenburg and for Germany as a whole that the capital region now has a modern and efficient airport. Willy Brandt Airport will be a true landmark not only for our capital, which as a pulsating metropolis in the heart of Europe attracts many millions of people every year. The Lufthansa Group with its airlines and business segments has been a reliable partner for Berlin, Brandenburg, and the airport for decades. We are happy to contribute to making BER a success story in aviation.”
Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin, added: “BER has gone online. For the German capital region, but especially for Berlin, this important step is associated with major changes, as Tegel Airport will close in a few days. We are very pleased that the capital city will now also offer new prospects for international connections and direct flights with this new, large airport. This is of strategic importance for Berlin as a business and tourism destination.”
The two aircraft receive the traditional salute