BER Berlin Brandenburg Airport to finally open on October 31
After 15 years of planning, 14 years of construction, and nine years of delays, Berlin’s new international airport can finally open next month - although the whole project has been such an embarrassment that festivities are set to be muted.
BER Airport to officially open on October 31, 2020
“BER will open on October 31, 2020,” said Engelbert Lütke-Daldrup, the boss of the new facility, at a sober press conference on Tuesday. “The German capital will finally have an airport that meets international standards.”
But what should have been a landmark occasion, and a cause for celebration, looks set to become a rather muted affair. Lütke-Daldrup said that embarrassment over the airport’s many delays - which caused costs to spiral from 2,7 to almost 6 billion euros and made both Berlin and Germany a “laughing stock” - had prompted the decision not to hold a party.
“We German engineers are ashamed,” he said. “There is no reason to brag about the project. So it’s clear: there will be no big party. We are just going to open it.”
The most embarrassing airport in Germany
After 15 years of planning, construction began on BER airport in 2006. It was initially slated to open in 2011, but a slew of building problems, corruption scandals and spiralling costs saw nine planned opening dates come and go.
Now, nine years later, the whole nightmare looks to be finally over. Terminal 1 of the new airport will open its doors on October 31, with German flag carrier Lufthansa and British budget airline EasyJet being the first to grace its runways. A few shops and a tourism office will also open on October 31.
Due to the collapse in air traffic caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the airport’s Terminal 2 will not open until next year. Nearby Schönefeld airport will become BER Terminal 5. Lütke-Daldrup said that Berlin’s airports would still need government support of around 260 million euros to help them weather the pandemic, with only around 10 million passengers expected in 2020, down from 36 million in 2019.