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Berlin's Schönefeld airport 'to stay open'

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The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Photo: DPA
10:46 CET+01:00
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, as the new international hub is too small.

It is the latest in a long line of setbacks to hit the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER) which is over budget and behind time. It is expected to open in 2015 at the earliest. Officially the cost of the airport is €4.3 billion.

Despite the huge cost, the airport will only have a capacity of 27 million passengers a year, which means that its ageing neighbour, Schönefeld, will need to stay open.

London’s Heathrow deals with 70 million passengers a year, while Frankfurt-am-Main takes 58 million.

The original plan had been for Schönefeld, which caters for budget airlines, to merge with BER.

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But on Wednesday BER airport spokesman Ralf Kunkel said keeping Schönefeld open to deal with capacity problems was an “option which we’re looking at”.

The airport’s chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn has reportedly already brought the idea to the airport’s supervisory board.

Keeping Schönefeld in operation would increase capacity by 7.5 million passengers a year and avoid further costs of building a new terminal.

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The farce around BER airport appeared to reach its peak in January when it emerged Mehdorn would be facing himself in a court case.

Berlin airport is facing compensation claims issued by Air Berlin for the airport’s delay - filed when Mehdorn was CEO of the airline.

READ MORE: Future of Berlin Airlift site hangs in balance

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