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New Berlin airport has 66,500 problems

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Photo: DPA
16:24 CEST+02:00
Berlin's new international airport took another step towards never being finished on Tuesday when it emerged that more than 66,000 problems still need to be fixed.

The BZ newspaper reported that technical head Horst Amann was dealing with a report listing 66,500 problems, after an eight-month assessment of the troubled multi-billion BER airport project.

The paper said it had seen the concluding reports for the most important areas of the airport, which shows that 34,000 were relevant to getting permission to open, while 5,845 were listed as critical by the report.

The most tricky problems are connected with the fire alarm system - something which was blamed for the cancellation of the opening last June.

The north pier section, which BER chief Hartmut Mehdorn hopes to open ahead of the rest of the airport, still has 8,500 problems, including severe ones with the fire alarm system, cabling system and building plans, the BZ said.

CLICK HERE to see photos of the troubled airport and its problems

Meanwhile, the main north pier section has 10,400 problems, including missing walls which were deemed necessary for fire protection. The fire resistance rating of 462 walls just in this section of the airport was also been found to be wrong.

The main pier in the middle of the airport has 24,900 problems, with the "sheer mass" of badly closed-off pipes and cables said to be so large that this in itself could prevent the airport opening. Around 80 percent must be re-done. Fire alarms in the check-in and shopping areas have not been fitted properly - so should fire break out there, no alarms or sprinklers would be activated.

The main south pier has 13,700 problems - including lifts which should, in the event of fire, take people to smoke-free areas, missing the crucial software. Without a fix people stuck in lifts could suffocate if a fire broke out.

The south pier has 9,000 problems, including some smoke detectors being installed within a few millimetres of ventilation and heating vents meaning, the BZ said, that the smoke detectors, when switched on, would be constantly activated.

Last June's delayed cancelled opening had been treated as certain, with posters dotted around the capital announcing the opening date, and international airlines including it in their schedules.

But not only did the June 2012 date crash and burn, so did later estimates - as well as the date for when parts of the new airport could start working. The last best guess was for the north pier of the airport to start handling planes in spring 2014, while the rest of the project could open in early 2015.

Story continues below…

Initial cost estimates of €1.2 billion have long been ditched, and the entire project is now expected to cost around €5 billion.

READ MORE: New Berlin airport 'just for easyjetters'

The Local/hc

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