‘No risks’ ahead of Berlin Brandenburg (BER) airport opening in October 2020

Inside BER in November 2019, when its opening for October 2020 was announced. Photo: DPA
Well, it's still on track to happen: the long-delayed opening of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) will go ahead as planned in October 2020, say bosses.

According to its operator, there are no more obstacles to get in the way of the BER airport finally opening its doors in October this year.

In fact, the planned opening has never been as set as it is at this moment, said airport boss Lütke Daldrup during a special BER committee at Brandenburg state parliament.

“We do not see any risks ahead of the first operations in October 2020,” said Daldrup on Monday.

The kick-off date for Germany's third-largest airport has been delayed since 2011. Six commissioning dates have been missed due to construction defects, technical problems and planning errors.

The notorious delays led Berlin’s then mayor Klaus Wolverweit to step down in 2015.

Daldrup said that all necessary documents had been handed over to the building supervisory authority. 

Among them are the most recent test certificates from the TÜV (Technical Inspection Agency). The experts had tested cables for the security power supply and lighting in the airport.

After the launch of BER, operations will move from the old Tegel and Schönefeld airports to the new site in several stages.

READ ALSO: Berlin's BER Airport to finally open in October 2020

The outside of the new BER airport. Photo: DPA

Trial operations

While meeting the planned date might seem more difficult in the coronavirus crisis, there are actually some advantages, according to Daldrup. The slump in air traffic actually makes it easier to conduct trial operations right now, he said. 

Trial operations will be carried out with reduced personnel at the greatest possible intervals, he said.

“We still have one to two percent of the [normal air] traffic right now,” said Daldrup, referring to the usual business at Berlin’s existing airports Tegel and Schönefeld. A total of about 1000 passengers per day are currently being counted at both locations.

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“We must expect passenger numbers to remain very low for several months,” he said.

There is no guarantee that the new Terminal 2 – which was expected to receive the most traffic – will be ready to open in October, though.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a quarter of the construction workers – who come from eastern Europe – are missing due to border restrictions. It is also possible that some shops in the BER main terminal will remain closed at the beginning, said Daldrup.

A further meeting of the airport shareholders is planned for the end of April between the federal government, and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg.

Vocabulary

First operations – (die) Inbetriebnahme

Slump in traffic – (der) Verkehrseinbruch

To save (money) – einsparen

The meeting – (die) Sitzung

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