Berlin airport boss admits: chances of 2017 opening slim to zero
The man responsible for pulling Berlin’s fiasco of an international airport out of the mud has said that there is almost no chance it will meet its already delayed 2017 opening deadline.
Karsten Mühlenfeld told Tagesspiegel on Thursday that it is much more likely that Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) will open in the spring of 2018.
The chances of the air hub being open for business in the autumn of 2017 “are extremely limited by this stage” he admitted.
He said that discussions with construction companies did still offer a glimmer of hope that the 2017 deadline could be reached and that “we won’t give this goal up.”
“If the airport doesn’t open in October or November then at the earliest it’ll be when the flight timetables change at the end of March (2018),” he said.
Mühlenfeld explained that switching flights from Tegel airport in the north of the city to BER in the south during the winter would be too dangerous.
Berlin authorities have pledged that the airport will open in autumn 2017, six years behind schedule. A major cause of the delay has been problems with fire detection systems which did not meet national fire safety standards.
An internal report seen by Bild earlier in the year suggests that the airport is unlikely to open before 2019, with work crawling along at a snail's pace.
One former project planner for the airport has even suggested that the airport will never open due to complications involved in rebuilding its fire safety systems.