Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport, already nearly a decade late, might not open in October 2020 after all. As contractors press on towards completing the construction a new challenge now faces the operation: Coronavirus.
Inspectors are working with contractors and airport authorities to ensure that the construction work meets all necessary building codes. That alone is a challenge for the project, with reports of wiring systems still being out of compliance. That work alone was perhaps enough to push the project to further delays.
The newest concern is that workers from TÜV Rheinland, the independent inspectors working to certify the project, are no longer present at the worksite. German news outlet Der Tagesspiegel reports that a member of the TUV team tested positive for coronavirus. As a result the team has fully withdrawn from the Brandenburg site. A TUV spokesperson is quoted as saying “All examiners are gone” from the site.
The organization was working against a tight timeline to complete the work and losing the inspectors is a challenge. But a spokesperson for the airport owner/operator remains optimistic, saying the company “expressly do not share the conclusion” that the opening date must be delayed. They expect that the inspection and paperwork review can continue.
Moreover, they insist that the certification work being performed by TUV can be performed from home and does not require presence in the terminal.
If the further delay proves accurate perhaps having the outside circumstances to blame it on will work in favor of FBB, the airport operator. Unless the cabling systems are in better shape than many sources are reporting the extra time for reworking could prove useful.
While the COVID-19 impact to Brandenburg remains unclear there are some airports that are known to be trimming operations as a result of airlines cutting capacity. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is consolidating service to only two of its seven piers, for example. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is likely to see terminals closed as Delta consolidates operations. British Airways is pulling its planes out of Terminal 3 at Heathrow to streamline its services. Depending on parking needs and other cuts further shifts at Heathrow are expected. Frankfurt closed a runway to use for parking planes. It would not be surprising to learn that the new remote terminal in Munich also closes as Lufthansa slashes flights at that hub.
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