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Passengers warned of Easter delays at Berlin Brandenburg airport

Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Germany's capital is expecting around one million passengers over the Easter holidays and facing a lack of staff.

People stand at the check-in counter at Berlin Brandenburg Airport
People stand at the check-in counter at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

Passengers at Berlin’s BER airport should prepare for longer waiting times over the Easter holidays, as thin staffing coupled with a spike in travelers is likely to lead to bottlenecks.

The airport’s manager, Aletta von Massenbach, recently told DPA: “In principle, the staffing level for Easter travel is sufficient, but not comfortable… many people have left the companies at BER during the move and because of the pandemic. Recruiting new staff is a challenge.”

What amounted to adequate staffing levels from January to March is likely to be insufficient for the peaks which are expected in April. The busiest days are likely to be Friday, April 8th and the Sunday before school starts on April 24. On both days, the airport expects around 70,000 passengers, while for other days throughout the Easter break, between 50,000 to 65,000 daily travelers are anticipated.

Understaffing of the ground service providers – who take care of things like loading and unloading luggage – and workers at the security checks, could contribute to the delays.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Will German airports see more strikes at Easter?

However, von Massenbach assured potential passengers that the airport was “working flat out to prepare for vacation traffic”.

The new Terminal 2, which opened a few weeks ago, could also provide some relief as the technical equipment of the security lanes is more modern, allowing more people to be checked with less staff.

Looking ahead to the weeks after Easter, the situation is unlikely to get any easier as passenger numbers continue to rise.

“We all have the summer flight schedule in mind. All partners at the airport know we need even more staff for this travel season, and everyone is currently recruiting as well as training the new staff”, von Massenbach said.

Nevertheless, more travellers are also good news for the economically struggling airport: “We are looking forward to the passengers and ultimately to the fact that there is a certain normalization,” the airport manager added.

READ ALSO: What to expect if you’re travelling to Germany this Easter

Member comments

  1. This airport is a disaster. It still is not finished, the moving sidewalks don’t work and the security lines are horrible. It is doomed to failure.

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TRAVEL NEWS

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

Germany's cut-price transport ticket is supposed to go on sale next Monday - but a battle over financing is threatening to torpedo the government's plans.

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

An feud between the federal and state governments intensified on Monday as state leaders threatened to block the government’s most recent energy package when it is put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Friday. 

The battle relates to the government’s plans for a budget transport ticket that would allow people to travel on local and regional transport around Germany for just €9 per month.

Though the 16 states have agreed to support the ticket, transport ministers are arguing that the low-cost option will blow a hole in their budgets and lead to potential price hikes once autumn rolls around.

They claim that current funding promised by the Federal Transport Ministry doesn’t go far enough.

READ ALSO: 

“If the federal government believes it can be applauded on the backs of the states for a three-month consolation prize and that others should foot the bill, then it has made a huge mistake,” Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) told Bild on Monday.

The government has pledged €2.5 billion to the states to pay for the measure, as well as financial support for income lost during the Covid crisis. 

Transport Minister Volker Wissing. of the Free Democrats (FDP), said states would also receive the revenue of the €9 ticket from customers who take advantage of the offer. 

“For this ‘9 for 90 ticket’, the €2.5 billion is a complete assumption of the costs by the federal government,” said Wissing on Thursday. “In addition, the states are also allowed to keep the €9 from the ticket price, so they are very well funded here.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaks ahead of a G7 summit in Düsseldorf.

However, federal states want a further €1.5 billion in order to increase staff, deal with extra fuel costs and to plan for the expansion of local transport in Germany.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Reinhard Meyer (SPD), told Bild that there would be “no approval (on Friday) as long as the federal government does not provide additional funds.”

Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) also warned that “the entire package of fuel rebate and €9 euro ticket could fail in the Bundesrat” if the government doesn’t agree to the state’s demands on funding.

The Bundesrat is Germany’s upper house of parliament, which is comprised of MPs serving in the state governments. Unlike in the Bundestag, where the traffic-light coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) has a majority, the CDU is the largest party in the Bundesrat. 

What is the €9 ticket?

The €9 monthly ticket was announced early this year as part of a package of energy relief measures for struggling households.

With the price of fuel rising dramatically amid supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine, the traffic-light coalition is hoping to encourage people to switch to public transport over summer instead. 

The ticket will run for three months from the start of June to the end of August, and will allow people to travel nationwide on local and regional transport. Long-distance trains like IC, EC and ICE trains will not be covered by the ticket. 

It should be available to purchase from May 23rd, primarily via ticket offices and the DB app and website. 

Some regional operators, including Berlin-Brandenburg’s VBB, have also pledged to offer the ticket at ticket machines.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get hold of the €9 travel ticket in Berlin

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