Starting on Monday, final technical tests were due to be carried out on the construction site in Schönefeld, in the south of the city.
“The tests in July are on track with our schedule until the opening of the BER in October 2020,” Airport CEO Lütke Daldrup told dpa.
The so called ‘Wirk-Prinzip-Prüfung (Effect Principle Test) is an important prerequisite before the airport can receive its final acceptance from authorities.
BER’s original opening was planned for October 2011, but was postponed at the last minute due to concerns about fire safety.
Over 40 working days, or two months, the independent working group Rhineland Technical Inspectorate (TÜV Rheinland) will ensure that different parts of the airport function well together.
For example, the fire alarms and back-up electricity supply will be put to the test simultaneously. Before such systems were only carried out individually.
Various other construction shortcomings, technical problems and planning errors have already caused the opening of BER to be delayed six times.
The airport has also been plagued by corruption allegations and legal disputes revolving around the financing of the project.
In May 2018, the project was pushed back further after the airport announced plans to construct an additional terminal.
It is slated to accommodate six million more passengers per year, and increase the airport's total capacity to 28 million passengers.
The seemingly endless delays and disputes led both the airport’s previous CEO Hartmut Mehdorn and former longtime Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit to step down in 2015.
In May, CEO Daldrup had expressed skepticism that the airport could be opened by October 2020 due to mounting technical problems.
A report from TÜV Rheinland counted a total of 11,581 technical issues, including with the airport’s fire control and security technology.
Doubts continue to arise about whether BER will truly open by October 2020 due to the previous setbacks.
Christian Gräff (CDU), chairman in the BER investigative committee in the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Representatives) doubted the “last minute” timeline.
“So far neither German air traffic control nor the airlines have been informed. They need a good year to prepare for a move,” said Gräff.
German transport minister Andreas Scheuer also published a letter in June casting doubt on what he considered to be too quick of a final timeline.
Germany’s federal government owns 26 percent of the airport, and the rest is shared between the states of Berlin and Brandenburg.
Currently flight passengers in the region use either Berlin's Tegel airport or the old Berlin Schönefeld airport.
The opening – (die) Eröffnung
Construction shortcomings/errors – (die) Baumängel
To delay – Verzögern
Fire control – (der) Brandschutz
Doubt – (der) Zweifel
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