BER boss wants to add another terminal
The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) doesn’t even have an opening date but it’s already too small, so CEO Hartmut Mehdorn asked for additional investments to build another terminal on Friday.
Mehdorn is calling for more investment into the project that brought down long-time mayor Klaus Wowereit. He says that without another terminal, the airport can’t even open.
"The airport will be overloaded from the beginning, ensuring that we won't have a good start,” he warned the overseeing committee to the beleaguered project.
BER has been built to handle 27 million passengers a year, replacing Tegel and Schönefeld airports when it opens. However, the existing infrastructure saw 28 million passengers in 2014.
Forecasts predict that Berlin’s airports will see 31 million passengers in 2015, with further growth forecasted.
“It is not enough to open the airport as we originally conceptualised it,” Mehdorn reported.
Additionally, security screening checkpoints were too small and there are also too few check-in desks, not enough parking spots and not enough gates for airplanes, totalling to a cost of €97 million.
His proposed solution is to build an additional north wing to the airport, creating a second, smaller terminal in the airport.
Costs for the second terminal are estimated at €80 million, adding up to an additional €187 million required for the airport.
The request was cause for more bickering between BER and the supervisory board, who Mehdorn has called the “inquisition” and said that it only fed into the “culture of mistrust surrounding BER.”
The airport was originally scheduled to open in 2010, but was delayed until 2012. Days before its opening date, it was announced that the airport wasn’t ready, causing the fourth delay,
Mehdorn hopes to announce a date for the opening sometime in the next year.
“By mid 2015, we hope to have processed the uncertainties thoroughly enough to estimate a concrete opening date,” Mehdorn said.
The 72-year-old project chief has previously said that an opening before 2017 was unlikely.
State secretary for transportation, Rainer Bomba, said that Mehdorn’s request will not put him out of a job, despite reports earlier this week to the contrary.
“We want to finish constructing the airport,” the Christian Democratic Union politician said.
Construction began on the building in 2006 with an estimated cost of €2.4 billion. To date, the airport has cost €5.4 billion, with further costs predicted to be as much as €3 billion.
The debacle caused Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit to resign after 13 years in city hall. His last day was Thursday.