Airport construction projects are notoriously delayed, given just how complex they are. However, most airport projects aren’t as delayed as Berlin’s long overdue Brandenburg Airport (BER), where construction started in 2006, with the airport initially expected to open in March 2011.
That was the first of 10 planned opening dates that have been missed for the airport. Furthermore, the airport had an initial budget of €2.83 billion, but at this point the budget has increased to €7 billion.
So, what all went wrong? This post has a detailed rundown of everything that has happened, though to summarize:
- In mid 2010 the construction company behind the airport went bankrupt, delaying the project
- In mid 2012 huge issues were discovered with the smoke exhaust systems at the airport, delaying the opening (it was later discovered that bribes were involved here)
- In early 2013 there were management changes at the airport, given the management’s team inability to get things done
- In mid 2016 they had issues getting the transport certification needed to open
- In 2017 airberlin went out of business, raising concerns for the airport, as this was supposed to be their largest airline, making them rethink part of the design
Suffice to say that this isn’t the shining example of German efficiency.
Well, the airport now has a new opening date. Berlin Brandenburg Airport is now expected to open on October 31, 2020, just under a year from now. The Airport Chief says that he is “certain” about the timeline, while the Supervisory Board Chairman says that there are still “shortcomings” that need to be addressed.
It would certainly be cool to see Berlin finally get a decent airport, though I remain skeptical. After all, we’re now approaching a dozen planned opening dates.
There are so many things that can still go wrong within the next year…
For what it’s worth, in March 2020 Lufthansa started scheduling flights out of Berlin Brandenburg Airport as of November 2020.
What do you think the odds are that Brandenburg Airport opens in October 2020?