Berlin airport calls for cash to stave off bankruptcy

Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
The main entrance to Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) finally opened last year after an eight-year delay, but it already needs a snap injection of large amounts of cash to avoid bankruptcy, the new CEO said on Saturday.

“We need money quickly, we need cash,” CEO Aletta von Massenbach told the newspaper Tagesspiegel.

The Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Gmbh (FBB) operator should have enough liquidity available to continue to trade “until the first quarter of 2022”, the CEO said.

FBB also faces clearing a “big payment to reimburse debt” in February.

The operator’s public owners — the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg — have pledged to pump in 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) by 2026.

“It’s very bitter for us to need so much money for BER,” admitted von Massenbach, who took charge on October 1st. “There is no plan B.”

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The airport has been called cursed, after the opening was put off repeatedly amid technical difficulties and allegations of corruption. It has so far cost six billion euros — three times more than planned.

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

And Berlin international finally opened just as international air traffic collapsed with the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

It came in for more criticism as the autumn holidays brought chaos to the terminal with huge check-in queues causing passengers to miss flights, partly because of a lack of staff.

Newspapers report regular problems such as dustbins overflowing, damaged tiles, and lifts and escalators frequently being out of service.

Tagesspiegel said the airport management team is next week due to put forward proposals to tackle the problems. And von Massenbach is to have talks with the Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.


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