Firms offered €1m bonuses to finish Berlin airport on schedule

Construction companies working on Berlin’s disastrous Brandenburg Airport project have been offered a bonus of €1m each if they complete the scheme by July next year.

Berlin’s city council, which is the client for the scheme, has promised that the facility will be operational next year, six years after its scheduled opening date. However, a report seen by the Bild magazine earlier this year suggests that at the slow pace of work, the airport was unlikely to open before 2019.

The airport has confirmed reports in Bild am Sonntag that the companies are being offered the bonuses, although it declined to say how much they were. According to their contracts, the money will be paid if all work is passed by the authorities by July, including the defective fire safety system which has been the root cause of the delay.

The idea of giving the companies bonuses to complete such a mismanaged scheme has attracted a predictable wave of criticism on social media, and among politicians. Brandenburg finance minister Christian Görke commented: "I have some questions to the management, but I will not make public."

Rainer Bretschneider, Brandenburg’s airport coordinator, defended the bonus payments. He said: "I am sure the supervisory board will support everything that will be used to speed up the construction work."

A spokesperson for the Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg said that the "acceleration procedure" was usual in large projects.

One crumb of comfort is that the bonuses are small in relation to the costs overrun of the entire project, which was to have come in at €2.5bn but is now expected to reach around €6.4bn.

Image: The main terminal building (Muns/Creative Commons)

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