Rainer Schwarz managed the multi-billion euro project for six years, at the behest of Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, apparently on the recommendation of the then head of Air Berlin Joachim Hunold who knew Schwarz from his work in charge of Düsseldorf airport. Air Berlin is now suing for catastrophic losses as a result of the delay.
Schwarz’ departure has been on the cards since last week when Wowereit agreed to give up the job of chairing the supervisory board, giving way to his Brandenburg counterpart Matthias Platzeck.
Platzeck immediately announced that Schwarz was history upon taking up his seat on Wednesday.
The Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Thursday that Schwarz could be blamed for much of the rolling disaster that the airport has become – double its original €2 billion price tag and already a well-worn joke in the public eye.
While Platzeck was taking his seat and Schwarz was vacating his, technical manager Horst Amann soberly said he did not expect to be finished before 2015. He was brought in to take on the project last September after the June 2012 opening was cancelled at embarrassingly short notice.
Many hopes have been pinned on the veteran of Frankfurt airport’s extension, whose main public role so far has been to try to dampen down exactly those hopes.
He said this week it would take some serious time to work out exactly what was going on at the enormous building site – what was complete, what needed to be re-done and what still needed sorting out.
And that is before anything significant is undertaken.
The search for a new manager has now begun. Platzeck’s first statement on the matter was that the airport corporation – made up of representatives from the Brandenburg and Berlin states and the federal government – would not be able to pay for everyone who might be deemed capable of taking on the project.