It is eight years late. It is billions of euros over budget; more than triple the original estimates. It is probably not necessary given the pandemic-induced downturn in the industry. But Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport finally opened on Saturday afternoon.
Of course, in true BER style, the planned simultaneous approach for easyJet and Lufthansa on the parallel runways to inaugurate the new facility was scrubbed. Weather got in the way. The easyJet plane ultimately secured the historic first arrival honors.
Following the ceremonial flights this afternoon the airport officially opens for passenger service at 8p local time tonight.
The downtown Tegel airport will close next Sunday as the balance of flights transition to the new terminal at BER.
The delayed opening and budget woes can be attributed to multiple sources. The original construction efforts were a shambles, with the fire safety system completely unusable and other electrical wiring challenges. There were also questionable redesign decisions, like Air Berlin insisting that the terminal offer support for A380 service. Air Berlin did not survive to the opening of the new airport and the A380 is on life support.
And the construction is not quite perfect. But the new terminal is open, the transit lines are running and soon the passengers will be passing through.
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