Speculation that Berlin Brandenburg might never open, as its problems are so expensive

The man in charge of planning Berlin’s Brandenburg airport, which has had a catalogue of major problems, says it now may never open. It might be pulled down.  It was meant to open in 2010, but had real problems with the fire extinguisher system, which did not work. Every year, the date of possible opening is pushed further back. Now it seems the myth of German national efficiency is under threat.  The airport is already £5 billion over budget and a national disgrace for a country that prides itself on technical excellence. The chief planner, until 1999, doubted if it would ever open. After the fire issue, which required the removal of hundreds of defective firewalls, there were also hundreds of miles of wiring that had to be ripped out of leaking underground conduits. The luggage relay systems did not work, and the computer system was so complex that for years nobody could work out how to turn off the lights. They blazed 24/7. Every month, the delay costs about £15 million, including cleaning costs and lighting to prevent vandalism. The Times says the airport’s PR chief “who, rather too truthfully, told journalists that claims of the project going well were “bullshit”.” If it does ever open (2018, 2019?) it will already be too small, and another runway may be added ….



Berlin’s new airport ‘may never open’: planner

27.4.2016  (The Local. Germany)

Talking to the Berliner Morgenpost, Dieter Faulenbach da Costa, who was responsible for planning the project up until 1999, said he doubted whether the airport would ever be opened.

Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) was supposed to open to the public in 2011, providing the German capital with a modern transport hub to replace the smaller airports at Schönefeld and Tegel.

But a series of planning failures have delayed the opening by years, with city authorities now claiming it will open in 2017.

Da Costa believes though that modifications to the design of the fire safety systems, which are the main reason for the delay in the opening, will make the project unworkable.

“The restructuring of the fire safety systems which has been going on for the last four years at BER will prevent the opening of the new airport,” he told the Morgenpost.

Da Costa criticized the airport management for too hastily ditching the old fire safety system.

“Instead of completing the [fire] apparatus which complied with original construction permit and then testing it, they decided to take on restructuring projects,” he said.

Berlin authorities responded to the former planner’s comments by saying it was sticking to the scheduled opening at the end of 2017.

“We already commented fully on this problem and to our current plan for the opening on Friday. We have nothing more to add,” spokesperson for the airport Lars Wagner said.

Earlier in April the airport sacked its previous PR chief for being slightly too honest about failures in the project.

Daniel Abbou described previous management as a shit show and said “up until now official statements always said that the project was going well. That’s bullshit.”

Due to the chronic delays, the state governments of Berlin and Brandenburg are also likely to have to pay out millions in compensation to airlines which planned their businesses around a 2011 opening.



The Times has the same story.  “Berlin’s delayed airport ‘will never open’ “

Wikipedia states:


Berlin Brandenburg Airport is an international airport under construction, located adjacent to the current Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Schönefeld 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of the city centre of Berlin.

It was originally intended to replace both Schönefeld and Berlin Tegel Airport, and to become the single commercial airport serving Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, an area with a combined 6 million inhabitants. However it is now known it will only replace Tegel, as the old Schönefeld airport is in current expansion because will still be required to cope with rising passenger numbers.

With a projected annual passenger number of around 34 million, Berlin Brandenburg Airport would become the third busiest airport in Germany, surpassing Düsseldorf Airport, and one of the fifteen busiest in Europe.

Air Berlin, Germanwings and easyJet are expected to become the leading carriers at the airport, having announced the intent to relocate and keep their hub / base operations there which they currently maintain at Tegel and Schönefeld airports today.

Originally planned to open in 2010, the airport has encountered a series of delays due to poor construction planning, management, execution and corruption.

Unfinished construction and corrective work means an opening prior to late 2017 is unlikely according to the WSP CBP time frame.

Current estimates suggest that the airport will open in 2018 or 2019, at the latest. Recent reports mentioned the 3rd quarter of 2019.

Current total costs amount to €5.4 billion. Additional plans suggest additional costs amounting to an extra €2.19 billion. As of 3 June 2015, Germany applied for an additional €2.5 billion spending approval at the EU, in addition to the previous total of €4.3 billion. Total costs thus mount to €6.8 billion.

The EU will only permit an additional €2.2 billion. Although the airport has yet to open, officials are planning a possible third runway for approximately €1 billion and other new projects such as an additional terminal, expanded baggage system and another freight facility.

The total additional spending would amount to €3.2 billion. The board warned of a further rise in costs because the airport will not open before 2017. The current time-cost frame is limited to 2016.

….. and there is a lot more …… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Brandenburg_Airport



Some earlier news about Berlin Brandenburg airport: 

Berlin Brandenburg airport problem of terminal ceiling being too heavy ….. already years late, hugely over budget

Berlin’s long-delayed Brandenburg airport has suffered another setback after structural flaws were found in the terminal roof.  It appears that the ceiling in the terminal building is too heavy. The airport, which was originally due to open in 2010, is still under construction and has run billions of Euros over budget. It was expected to open in 2017 but that could be postponed even further. The local building authority said it had told the construction firm to “immediately stop building works for the area underneath the entire terminal roof of the BER airport” until security checks could be carried out by engineers. The airport’s CEO has left the company. Earlier this year Air Berlin, which is currently running at a loss, reached a settlement with the airport over the delays as it had planned on making BER its main hub airport. The first problems noted were to do with the smoke and fire detection problem. The proposed solution, (which was not surprisingly rejected) was (paraphrased) for 800 low-paid workers armed with cell phones, sitting on camping stools, armed with thermos flasks, who would take up positions throughout the terminal. If anyone smelled smoke or saw a fire, they would alert the airport fire station and direct passengers toward the exits” The airport’s cost, borne by taxpayers, has tripled to €5.4 billion.



Troubled Berlin Brandenburg airport, due to open in June 2012, could be shut down in late summer unless €1.1 billion is raised

Berlin Brandenburg (BER) airport was intended to be a huge new airport for Berlin, so Berlin-Schönefeld and Tegel airports could close. The BER was initially due to open in June 2012. It had a catalogue of problems with fire safety, smoke extraction system, and fresh air supply in the event of fire. The launch has been delayed and delayed …. last year it was hoped it might open this year. Now the airport’s CEO has announced that it is possible the construction of the airport may need to be shut down this summer, if a further €1.1 billion cannot be raised. Some €4.3 billion has already been spent, but that only lasts till this summer. Extra costs have been incurred due to the late opening, as well as the extra construction costs. A decision on how €1.1 billion can be raised is needed urgently, perhaps through bank loans, government grants or from an investor. The money has to not only be agreed by Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government, but also needs approval from the EU Commission. Current total costs amount to €5.4 billion. Additional plans suggest additional costs amounting to an extra €2.19 billion. Although the airport has yet to open, officials are planning a possible third runway for approximately €1 billion and other new projects such as an additional terminal, expanded baggage system and another freight facility. The total additional spending would amount to €3.2 billion.

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Berlin’s Schönefeld airport ‘to stay open’ as Brandenburg airport (at huge expense) not ready till 2015 at the earliest

February 25, 2014

Berlin’s old Schönefeld airport is likely to remain open as a destination for budget airlines despite a multi-billion airport being built next to it, at Berlin Brandenburg (BER), as the new international hub is too small. It is the latest in a long line of setbacks to hit the BER, which is over budget and behind time. It will have two runways. It is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest. Officially the cost of the airport is €4.3 billion, though initial cost estimates were €1.2 and it could cost up to €6 billion. Despite the huge cost, the airport will only have a capacity of 27 million passengers a year, so its ageing neighbour, Schönefeld, will need to stay open. The original plan had been for Schönefeld, which caters for budget airlines, to merge with BER. Keeping Schönefeld in operation would increase capacity by 7.5 million passengers a year and avoid further costs of building a new terminal. Earlier it had been expected that BER could be partly in use in 2014, with 10 planes per day, but that will not happen. The airport was initially intended to open in 2010 but the multiple delays have been due to difficulties concerning fire safety, the smoke exhaust systems and construction errors. Air Berlin is suing BER for damages due to the much delayed opening.

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…… and there is more going back further at