• Germany edition
 
Berlin airport: new opening date in danger
Photo: DPA

Berlin airport: new opening date in danger

Published: 15 Aug 2012 12:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Aug 2012 12:36 GMT+02:00

Although the new date is expected to be sometime towards the end of 2013 – after the summer holidays – this could also turn out to be optimistic.

"As far as I know, we've cancelled the date of March 17," Anton Hofreiter, president of the transport committee in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, told ARD public television.

"The airport supervisory committee will discuss Thursday how we move forward and whether we can name another date," he told the Tagesspiegel newspaper, which said the airport would not open before the second half of 2013.

The project's chief operating officer Horst Annan has only just brought his trusted experts onto the job, the paper said, and the new team is likely to need several weeks to get the huge project under control.

It is hoped that he will be able to give the supervisory board an opening date at the next meeting on September 14.

Amid the speculation, the corporation in charge of the delay-stricken airport insisted there were "no new developments."

"The opening date we expect is still March 17, 2013," the firm said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Yet, as the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote on Wednesday, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit put the March 2013 date in doubt a couple of weeks ago when he admitted that Thursday’s meeting might not be able to plump for a fixed date.

“It is clear that a high level of dependability must be there,” he said at the time. “It can never again get to the situation where four weeks before the opening one has to say it is not going to work again. That would be fatal.”

Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer has also laid the ground for a further delay – anything rather than another embarrassing retreat from a solid date.

“If it is not absolutely certain that everything is ready, and a smooth start can be undertaken, then one should carefully reconsider this date,” he said.

Airlines, in particular Lufthansa, have been pushing for a guaranteed date for the end of construction, so they can plan tests of the airport facilities before it starts operation.

Financial concerns are also dogging the project, which is now expected to cost more than €4 billion – up from recent estimates of €2.8 billion. Each day of delay costs millions of euros and there are fears that there is not enough money to last until the end of the year.

A further cash injection from state coffers would need the approval of the European Union – but without it the entire project could go bust.

Meanwhile scathing jokes on the matter have been making the rounds on Twitter and social networks - including the suggestion that it "might be easier to move Berlin near a functioning international airport."

DAPD/AFP/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:48 August 15, 2012 by catjones
As long as they refuse to bring in professionals from other countries with experience in completing large projects on time, this debacle will continue.
19:25 August 15, 2012 by steel jaws
This is another case of tax-payers money being poured down the drain. It is a scandal that politicians in Europe can cause so much unnecessary waste without being held liable for the loss caused. A shop assistant is required to replace any money which is short in the till, a shop manager loses any extra privileges ( and possibly his job), if a deficit is found during stocktaking. Why are so many devil-may-care acts,by overpaid politicians, not penalised?
10:56 August 16, 2012 by michael4096
@catjones - Germany has more than enough professionals of its own with experience of successful large projects. Projects like this don't seem to fail due to a lack of professionals but poor governance.
15:37 August 17, 2012 by endrsgm
so michael, the inference of your post is that the various contractors and sub-contractors are all doing fine but its the guy at the top to blame? really? id bet the share of blame goes much further than just that.
Today's headlines
Karstadt closes stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26
An eyewitness captured the moment of the explosion on their phone. Photo: DPA

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26

UPDATE: One person has died and 26 others are injured after a huge explosion in Ludwigshafen, western Germany on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,528
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd