The new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport is now scheduled to open on 17th March 2013, more than nine months after the revised 3rd June 2012 date and later than the autumn opening subsequently announced earlier this month.
Yesterday, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH announced that Dr Manfred Körtgen, managing director of operations and construction since September 2008, would “leave the company following discussions about the reasons for postponing the opening date” and that the contract with project management company pg bbi will be terminated.
The opening has been postponed because completion of the safety systems, and their subsequent structural approval, could no longer be accomplished by the planned opening date. The fully automated fire safety systems will now be in place by December 2012, followed by three months of testing.
Not surprisingly, Air Berlin, which will use the airport as its new base, is not happy. “This is completely unacceptable and will result in irreparable damage to the image of Berlin as an airport hub,” said the airline’s Chief Executive, Hartmut Mehdorn.
Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport is being built at an original cost of €2.5 billion, but it is not known how much this long delay will cost. The airport will have an initial capacity of 27 million passengers annually, with longer-term plans to handle 45 million. The existing Berlin airports at Tegel and Schoenefeld will close when the new airport finally opens.