Aviation

Berlin’s new airport opens nearly a decade late and $6.5 billion over budget

Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport has finally opened its doors eight years behind schedule and $6.5 billion over budget, not to mention timing its long-awaited opening to coincide with a global pandemic.

The new airport, which is located in the Schönefeld region southeast of Berlin, has grand plans to become a top-of-the-line aviation hub for the country’s capital, according to CNN.

Berlin-Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport (BER) has hit so many snags that it has been widely branded as ‘cursed’, and the outlook isn’t looking too good for the project, according to European trade body Europe ACI, which has warned nearly 200 airports across the continent could go bust within months.

On 31 October 2020, terminal one of BER began operations with an EasyJet flight and a Lufthansa flight both landing, with the terminal opening up to the public at 8pm.

The first flight to take-off from terminal 1, an EasyJet flight headed for London Gatwick, left at 6:45am on 1 November.

The airport was set to open in 2012, touted as an incredible, modern-day marvel for aviation, and set to replace Berlin’s Schonefeld and Tegel hubs.

Image credit: Thomas Kierok/Berlin-Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport

But less than a month before the grand opening, the date was delayed and continued to be delayed until now.

Towards the end of 2011, aviation inspectors found a slew of issues with the airport including a faulty fire-protection system and numerous major structural issues including escalator sizes, ceiling designs and ticket counters.

“After very tough years of building and testing and trials, we are ready for takeoff. We had a lot of time to implement the newest technologies at this airport,” airport boss Engelbert Luetke Daldrup told CNN.

“The airport in so many aspects, the technical aspects, has undergone very severe infrastructural redevelopment. We are probably the safest airport of the world because we are so strictly tested, after the disaster of 2012.”

BER was set to be one of the busiest in Europe with estimates of 27 million annual passengers; however, with the current climate, it’s anyone’s guess what’s in store for the new airport.


Featured image source: Berlin-Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport

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