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Airport crowds laugh at Berlin mayor over delay

The Local · 13 May 2012, 11:39

Published: 13 May 2012 11:39 GMT+02:00

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At least 50,000 curious Berliners flocked to gawp at what one described as the “construction site” of the Berlin-Brandenburg Willy Brandt airport over the weekend.

The open day was supposed to take place a few weeks before the grand opening, but last week officials admitted they were going to miss the widely advertised scheduled opening on June 3.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit drew scornful laughter when he told crowds on Saturday that despite the disastrous delay, visitors could see how far the airport had come along and that it was a “grandiose creation.”

"We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far,” the Mayor added without irony, yet refused to name a new launch date.

Meanwhile, further details have begun to emerge of just how far the mega-project is from being ready.

A report by ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transport) - a team of 13 aviation construction experts from Munich – had warned back in April that the June 3 opening was unrealistic, according to the Focus magazine on Saturday.

Only 52 percent of crucial areas – from check-in to boarding and ground traffic – are currently ready for take-off, the magazine said.

Murmurs of disbelief came from the crowd as airport chief Rainer Schwarz repeated the official line that problems with the fire escape system - such as warnings and door closure systems – had meant the site had not been given safety approval.

But this minor cock-up seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. It has been obvious for months that the airport would not be ready in time, reported the magazine.

Story continues below…

“The airport is very far from being operational – independent of the technical systems,” an unnamed ORAT employee told Focus.

DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:57 May 13, 2012 by catjones
My friend works for the largest commercial real estate company in the U.S. and was instrumental in determining that they would decline investments at this airport almost two years ago. She has since been promoted.
14:08 May 13, 2012 by hanskarl
So much for German efficiency.

The construction boss who found his personal education more important than meeting critical milestones in the construction process must be held accountable. He wasted taxpayer money focusing and spending too much time working on his PhD. It seems German PhD degrees are again in the limelight.

As a friend once told me in the US. There they the first university degree is the BS degree which they laughingly say stands for the "droppings of a bull." If they are willing they go on for their MS degree which is "more of the same." For those really into the university scene they continue up the ladder and go for the PhD degree which in all actuality merely means "piled higher and deeper."
08:41 May 14, 2012 by blackboot11
This all started when these greedy people took the federal money for a new Berlin Flughafen on the promise that they would close a perfectly good TXL in the deal.

A new airport that is scandal ridden and a well designed and functioonal TXL that will be mothballed. Again, Berlin slowly 'progressing' in spite of itself.

Next up, the Neue Schloss.....LOL!
09:40 May 14, 2012 by catjones
blackboot11...actually it was a three-for-one consolidation deal.

Many winters ago, the streets of Chicago weren't cleared of snow quickly enough and that mayor was remembered in the next election and all elections since. Making excuses for Wowereit perpetuates sloppy and incompetent city management. 'Stupid but in office'.
20:59 May 14, 2012 by blackboot11
thats right, Tempelhof, Schönefeld and TXL....
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