Is this the man to save Berlin airport?

DPA/The Local
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Is this the man to save Berlin airport?
Jörg Marks is charged with fixing the airport's smoke extraction system. Photo: DPA

Hopes of saving Berlin’s new international airport have fallen on the shoulders of a Siemens engineer. Jörg Marks was named technical director of the disastrous project on Wednesday and said completing the €5-billion airport was “technologically feasible”.


Marks was appointed technical director of the massively over budget and long-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport after his predecessor, Jochen Großmann, was fired in a corruption probe amid allegations he demanded a €500,000 bribe from a potential contractor.

The 46-year-old’s main task will be working out how to fix the airport’s fire safety system. The smoke extraction system has caused chaos in the terminal building. It is supposed to pump out smoke in the event of a fire, but engineers believe it will not work properly, thereby trapping smoke in the building with thousands of passengers.

It is a task Marks should be familiar with – at Siemens the engineer has been involved with part of the airport’s failed fire safety system since 2008.

“It is not impossible,” he told Tagesspiegel newspaper. “It is technologically feasible. I think you have to take it step by step.”

The father-of-one told the newspaper he took the job because he wanted to see the airport, which was supposed to open two years ago, “finally completed”.

“I have been following the project at a certain distance for a long time in my role as head of building in the eastern region for Siemens," he said. "It has always rankled me that certain things have not been done."

Marks, who is originally from Hamburg, has been charged by the airport’s chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn with one of the toughest jobs in Germany – the “safe completion and commissioning of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport”.

The airport currently has no completion date and is expected to need at least another €1 billion.

In a parting statement on Marks' departure, Siemens board member Roland Busch praised the “expertise” of the engineer. 

SEE ALSO: When did Germans forget how to build?


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