Berlin’s Brandenburg airport to open October 2020, nine years late

Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport is to open on 31 October 2020, nine years after the deadline given when work began on the project in 2006.

Engelbert Luetke Daldrup, the chief executive of the Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB) group, told a press conference on Friday, 29 November, that the date was set, but that there were still "11 months of hard work" ahead of the contractors, and that the airport would open "in phases".

The construction work is scheduled to halt in April, after which its systems will be tested and commissioned. By the time it opens, its construction cost is expected to have increased from €2.5bn to €6.5bn.   

Work on the airport was delayed by a long list of design and technical problems.

In 2014, it was revealed that Alfredo di Mauro, the chief planner for the airport’s fire protection system, was not a qualified engineer. He said that everyone thought he was a proper engineer and "didn’t contradict them".

The failure of the project led to accusations of corruption and incompetence, including technical director Jochen Grossman, who received a one-year suspended sentence and a fine of €200,000 for accepting bribes.

The delay to Brandenburg has meant that Berlin has had to rely on two small airports. Flights to Tegel are scheduled to end, but airlines will continue to use the Schönefeld terminal, next to the new airport, for some time to come.

Image: An aerial view of Brandenburg Airport during its lengthy construction period (Arne Müseler/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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