Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport handled 3,077 passengers on its first day of operation. The opening has so far gone without a hitch, unlike many airport openings. Indeed, the biggest issue so far has been a 50-minute delay to a Qatar Airways flight.
While everybody hopes that the opening of a brand new airport will go without a hitch, the reality is that this is not always the case. Take Heathrow Terminal 5, for example. When the terminal first opened, it was plagued by an IT failure affecting the baggage system. Meanwhile, the opening of Istanbul’s new airport was also delayed several times.
Successful first days
According to initial figures, the first days of operation at Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport have been a huge success. According to the airport authority, on the first day of operation, BER saw 23 arrivals and 23 departures. The majority of these flights were operated by easyJet, while Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways also used the new terminal.
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From these flights, the airport handled 3077 passengers, or on average, 67 passengers per flight. These passengers had 1601 pieces of checked baggage, which the airport said was a high ratio.
In total, up until midnight last night, the airport has handled 46 departures, 53 arrivals, 5,929 passengers, and 3,160 bags. Its COVID test center has administered 400 tests. However, it wasn’t just passengers that visited the airport this weekend. The facility also welcomed some 4,000-6,000 Berliners eager to see what they’d been waiting for over the past nine years.
Regarding the previously mentioned Qatar Airways flight, the airport authority said that the plane had been delayed due to a faulty pushback tug. Once the brand new electric tug had been attached to the aircraft, it failed. Unable to be moved even one centimeter, airport staff had to push the tug away from the aircraft by hand.
Tegel’s closure is coming
Of course, the opening of the new Brandenburg Airport means that Tegel Airport’s final departure is nearing ever closer. On April 12th, the airport handled just 250 passengers. However, on Saturday and Sunday, each flight is expected to be nearly full as people fly to the airport one last time.
34 flights to and from the airport are planned for Saturday, with some carrying high profile guests. For example, Tegel’s architect will fly in from Lubeck, while the football team Herta BSC will fly in on the last Lufthansa flight.
On Sunday, November 8th, Air France will operate the airport’s final flight, almost 61 years since it was the first airline to land at the airport. In the past 60 years of operations, 3.8 million Currywursts has been sold at the airport.
The airport will officially close to air traffic at 18:00 on Sunday, after which white crosses will be painted on the runway. Berlin’s airport authority will then pay around €200-300 thousand ($234-351 thousand) to keep the airport’s perimeter secured until the facility is handed over to the City of Berlin on May 4th.
Tegel Airport will mark each airline’s last flight with a water cannon salute at the very least.
Will you fly through Tegel one more time before it closes? Have you passed through Brandenburg? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!