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BER does not take off

The opening of Berlin’s future only airport has already been postponed twice. In June 2010, it was announced that the opening, scheduled for November 2011, would not take place until June 3, 2012. On that day Tegel Airport would close for good, while Schönefeld would become the new airport Berlin Brandenburg – Willy Brandt (BER). For this purpose, it would be expanded with a new terminal, with the capacity to accommodate up to 27 million passengers per year.

© Arne Müseler ( CC-BY-SA-3.0

Surprise and discomfort

Nonetheless, on Tuesday it was announced that the opening was postponed once again – sine die. Problems have been detected in the fire protection system, which will have to be completely corrected. Painful surprise, this statement, even more so when 48 hours before the announcement, the airport itself continued to inform about its imminent opening. It should be noted that it is not just about opening the new facilities with the new name: the planned closure of Tegel, that same weekend, had meant the rerouting of many flights to Berlin.

Traders have been particularly affected, both in Tegel – focused as they were on closing business on Saturday 2 June – and in the new airport. Chaos, and millions of euros lost. Of course, the postponement is also a headache for travelers: those with flights booked for June 3 and following days should confirm with their company which is their airport. So, AirBerlin will continue operating from Tegel after June 3.

Both the mayor-president of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and the president of the state of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, are in the eye of the hurricane. The president of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce, Eric Schweitzer, explicitly said recently that this new postponement should have “personal consequences”, although he did not name anyone in particular. According to Schweitzer, the “punishment” suffered by Berlin’s image will have negative economic repercussions. Indeed, Berlin’s future only airport is at a stake and this is nothing but bad news for Germany’s capital city.

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