• Germany's news in English
 

Berlin airport: new opening date in danger

Published: 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
Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia
File photo: DPA

Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia

Camera traps have spotted a wolf for the second time in a month in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state environment ministry reported on Friday. READ  

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay
Paraguayan police on patrol in an area known to contain EPP rebels. File photo: DPA

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed that two Germans living in Paraguay were kidnapped and killed earlier this week. READ  

AfD braces for busy conference weekend
"Vote AfD!" reads the flyover message. Photo: DPA

AfD braces for busy conference weekend

As leaders of the Germany's anti-Euro upstart party Alternative for Germany (AfD) prepare for its party conference this weekend, the potential for chaos is rising. READ  

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos
Snow in Oberharz. Photo: DPA

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos

UPDATE: Two people were rescued from avalanches as a blast of winter has taken Germany by surprise, while snow and ice accounted for several traffic accidents across the country on Friday. READ  

BND collects 220 million phone records a day
Photo: DPA

BND collects 220 million phone records a day

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) collects 220 million pieces of information about foreign phone calls and SMS every day, Zeit Online reported on Friday. READ  

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers
Photo: DPA

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers

Germany temporarily hit the brakes Friday on applying its new minimum wage to foreign truck drivers transiting the country in a move welcomed by Poland, which vigorously opposed the system. READ  

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader

Foreign policy think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) gave Germany top marks in its annual check-up of EU member states released on Thursday. READ  

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years
Photo: DPA

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years

New figures released Friday by federal statistics office Destatis are numbers breweries can drink to, as German beer consumption saw its first year-on-year rise since 2006. READ  

Germany has thousands of uni spots open
Photo: DPA

Germany has thousands of uni spots open

New research published by Spiegel on Friday shows that there are thousands of university placesa unoccupied across the country, while certain hot spots cope with too much demand. READ  

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp at a press conference. Photo: DPA

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp admits feeling the pressure as his side resume their fight to stay in Germany's top flight on Saturday at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,536
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd