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Berlin airport building stops over cash woes

Published: 29 Nov 2012 07:26 GMT+01:00

The new multi-billion-euro airport is due to open in October 2013 - a date settled on after this June's date was missed by a mile, to the great embarrassment of the Berlin and Brandenburg state governments who were are behind the project.

They and the federal government run a corporation in charge of building the new airport which is due to replace both of the capital's other airports Tegel and Schönefeld.

The Bild newspaper reported on Thursday that the airport could end up costing an extra €250 million, that is, if the work is ever completed.

Construction was halted after the last opening date was missed, and various managers as well as the architects, were sacked. But on Wednesday the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that construction at the site had not resumed in mid-November as had been planned.

Experts told the paper they would not expect work to start again before the end of the year. The airport corporation has said that work would be resumed in stages, and confirmed that not all areas were being worked upon.

The Tagesspiegel daily reported this week that it had information that the problem was money, and that the construction firms were trying to get the best out of the situation - which the corporation was struggling to pay as its finances were in poor shape. It confirmed months ago that its liquidity was only secure until the end of the year. Berlin and Brandenburg states have each made €444 million available, but the €312 million due from the federal government has not been released.

Some companies, the Tagesspiegel reported, were refused to go back to work until they had been paid a deposit.

Another problem, insiders told the paper, is that just one of the construction firms has a contract that is linked to finishing on time. Many workers have been moved to other projects, and it will take up to six weeks for them to return to the BER site. Many companies have little interest in making things move along more quickly, the paper said.

Further concern was voiced over BER this week with the publication on Tuesday of a 75-page report by international airport designer Dieter Faulenbach da Costa. Commissioned by the Christian Democratic Union opposition in Brandenburg, the report is scathing about the basic concept of the airport.

It says that even as and when BER opens, passengers will get worse service than they currently do at the two old Berlin airports. They have 176 check in desks between them, the report says - but the BER airport is due to have just 112. Da Costa said work would have to start almost immediately to expand capacity.

This was rejected by the BER consortium which said it had planned enough capacity to deal with 27 million passengers a year and that the check in desk numbers had been agreed with airlines.

The main problem, Da Costa said, was that because regular passengers were going to be mixed with bargain ticket-holders, the non-discount airlines would refuse to pay higher landing fees - which could prove problematic for the airport's long-term finances.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:03 November 29, 2012 by pepsionice
I think if you peel back everything, you find a number of issues. The corporation that the gov't created to build and run the airport....I suspect....never had absolutely competent people to micromanage the construction phase. The various contractors to build? They probably found dozens of ways of over-charging for each phase of their contract, in hopes of milking more money out of the corporation. Sub-contractors did the same thing, is also a hunch of mine.

Go and look at the KMC over at Ramstein. It actually reached a point where the Air Force refused to pay a cent more for construction, and it sat idle for almost two years at the eighty-percent point of construction. Only when investigators were called out and everyone (including political figures) started to get nervous over what kind of mess they run into.....did the German government suddenly stand up and throw some cash into the pot to finish up the project. No one ever talked about how much extra the Germans had to pay....to ensure the completion of an American project.
10:47 November 29, 2012 by raandy
The new airport is unfortunately just one station beyond the AB BVG ticket so you must purchase a ABC ticket, if you have a monthly ticket this is a pain in the butt.

The cost of a cab from here is a lot more in most case than it was from Tegal.I am use to flying out of Tegal and couldn't care less if they ever finnish it.
11:00 November 29, 2012 by HHayrider
At the rate they are going, I might have a chance to fly into Tegel one more time before it closes!
11:25 November 29, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@ raandy

You don't need to purchase an ABC ticket if you have a monthly AB ticket. All you need to do is top it up. You buy an additional ticket which costs €1,40 I think.
11:53 November 29, 2012 by raandy
Berlin fuer alle Thats correct, but I was controlled at Shoenefeld once when I got off the bus, had no idea about being out of the AB (or entering the

Twilight zone) and the guy smiled and said I was the 8th person he caught that day.

You are right , all you need is to buy the additional 1.40
17:00 November 29, 2012 by catjones
Just call it Templehof II, plants some trees, make it a park and keep the two airports.
01:51 November 30, 2012 by chicagolive
@ pepsionice

KMC was about $350 over budget and the German government had to cough up 300million of it. Severe quality issues, fraud from so called German government cleared firms it was a true debacle. They did not want that coming out on them, but the Airport in Berlin just shows the inability of firms here to do large jobs without committing crooked acts. The Plaza project in Frankfurt is also supposed to be over budget and suffering the same issues.
19:52 November 30, 2012 by Englishted
Does could not run a pi## up in a brewery and as much use as a chocolate teapot spring into anyone mind or is it only me?
19:58 November 30, 2012 by raandy
For sure there is a disconnect there somewhere .
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