Will Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport Finally Open In 2020?

According to FBB (Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg), the official entity managing the development of the Brandenburg airport, the project is on track to open by October 2020. This is according to their 2018 Annual Report. However, the airport was supposed to open in 2012 with the completion date constantly being pushed back. Can we still rely on this date?

Berlin Brandenburg Airport Interior
The terminal was yet to be completed four months before it was originally due to open. Photo: Dabbelju via Wikimedia

FBB’s annual report

As the organization responsible for both Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) airports, FBB also oversees the planning and development of Berlin Brandenburg (BER). Each year the organization releases its annual report. This year’s report provides an update on where Brandenburg currently sits:

“The Airport Company is due to complete all construction work at BER in 2019. The still ongoing remedy of defects is developing positively. In addition, the facilities are completed and tested by the superordinate experts.

“Interaction tests, hot gas smoke tests and operating principle tests are also scheduled for 2019. Finally, notification of the completion of building work will be submitted to the Building Regulatory Authority. Once the Building Regulatory Authority has completed its checks, it will then issue the release for utilisation.”

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The biggest reason for the airport’s failed opening in 2012 was due to its faulty fire alarm system. However, according to FlightGlobal, July saw the FBB disclose that tests of Terminal 1’s emergency systems had progressed sufficiently. Furthermore, it stated that the facility was ready for “broad operating principle tests”.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport from above. Photo: Wikimedia.

Why has it been seven years?

The video below explains the entire Berlin airport situation very well, including why the city has two small, mediocre airports at the moment. For those who don’t have the time to watch the video, here are some of the reasons why the opening of the new Brandenburg airport is taking so long:

  • 26 days before its scheduled June 2012 opening, the airport’s fire alarm and suppression system was found to not function properly.
  • The ventilation system also turned out to be problematic.
  • There was an insufficient number of check-in desks for anticipated traffic volumes.
  • 4,000 doors were numbered incorrectly.
  • The structural integrity of the roof was in question.
  • In 2018, departure board screens had to be replaced after burning out due to being left on for six years.

Conclusion

An interior shot of Berlin Brandenburg terminal. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While the video above is skeptical of the airport’s October 2020 opening date. FBB’s annual report seems optimistic and assures its readers that everything is on track:

“The Airport Company used 2018 intensively to further prepare for the planned opening of BER in October 2020. The remedial work will be continued on an ongoing basis and is subject to strict deadline monitoring, with the result that the notification of the completion of building work for the terminal is scheduled for autumn 2019.”

Do you think they’ll stick to the schedule this time? Or is more disappointment on the horizon?

4 comments
  1. Even 2012 wasn’t the original opening date. This has has been going through painful delays since inception. The original plans had the airport opening in the late 90s. The Germany of the past that people still think of is not the Germany of the present. And to think, this is the country that’s running Europe.

    1. This is an example how overregulation and mismanagement can crash an infrastructure project. Both citizens and visitors of Berlin are bugged by the current situation.

      Matt, this doesn’t have anything to do with any role of Germany in the European Union, which by the way is run by the 28 member states which are all equal. Let’s stay 28.

  2. I’ll believe it when I see it!
    Some quality inspection in the next few months will probably reveal that all the wiring in the airport has the wrong color coding, or that the ventilation ducts have the wrong diameter, or that the wrong type of rubber was used in the baggage belts…or that the rare type of insects now living alongside the runways must not be disturbed…whatever! This is a litany without end!

  3. Istanbul new airport was built really fast compared to Berlin new airport. That makes me to wonder if the quality standards are much higher in Germany or is it just the bad project management.

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