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Berlin's chaos airport sacks boss amid leadership struggle

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Berlin's chaos airport sacks boss amid leadership struggle
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER). Photo: DPA
17:36 CET+01:00
Berlin announced on Monday that it had sacked the head of its long-delayed new airport, replacing him within hours with a trusted bureaucrat.

Berlin's glitzy new airport was supposed to open six years ago. But the people of the Hauptstadt are still waiting - and will have to do so at least another year - due to a building project riddled by corruption and mismanagement.

On Monday the latest chapter in this desperate tale was written, when the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) oversight committee sacked Karsten Mühlenfeld, the head of the project.

Mühlenfeld had himself been putting heads on the chopping board, firing engineering manager Jörg Marks last week after a series of deadlines were missed, pushing back the planned opening date from autumn 2017 to 2018.

Marks will now be given his job back, with Mühlenfeld having to clear his desk on Tuesday.

“It was important to us to keep Mr Marks' know-how,” said Berlin mayor Michael Müller.

Later on Monday the airport oversight committee, made up of politicians from the city of Berlin and the state of Brandenburg, appointed Lütke Daldrup to replace Mühlenfeld.

Daldrup previously worked in Müller's office as his top civil servant. He will become the fourth boss of the airport, the opening of which has been delayed five times.

Müller described the appointment as an “appropriate, good and quick solution.”

The opposition criticized the sacking of Mühlenfeld, who is an experienced engineer.

“His sacking means the last person with specialist experience in the leadership of the airport has gone - that shows what months of chaos can do,” said Herbert Behrens, transport spokesman for Die Linke (the Left party).

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