Even Berlin airport's partial opening delayed

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Even Berlin airport's partial opening delayed

Concern is rising in Berlin that the much-delayed and over-budget BER new international airport could be even later than expected after an expected partial opening seemed likely to be put back by several months.


Project manager Hartmut Mehdorn had announced plans to bring at least a part of the huge new airport into service at the end of this year as a form of test, an important political step forward, the Tagesspiegel reported on Friday.

But even this now is considered unlikely, the paper said, prompting criticism of Mehdorn from city politicians. "The airport manager is obviously not doing the work he is supposed to be doing - namely turning a huge mess into a working company," said Martin Delius, Berlin state MP for the Pirate Party and chairman of the BER investigative committee.

The north pier of the airport was planned to start handling planes this December - but this can only happen after a six-week testing period. And it seems now that the building authorities will only give permission for that period to begin at the start of 2014, which means any partial opening would only be feasible in spring.

The latest timetable is to have the entire airport open for business towards the end of 2014 or in early 2015.

The airport, initially expected to cost around €1.2 billion, is now expected to cost more in the region of €5 billion. Maintenance and security for the half-built building is said to be costing up to €50 million a month, while the uncertainty regarding its opening also impacts on the city's Tegel airport, the paper said.

It was due to be closed in 2011 - when BER was due to start operating - but is now working over-capacity.

The Local/hc


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