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Berlin's Giant New Airport Will Open (Maybe Possibly Hopefully)

Where: Berlin, Germany
December 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM | by | ()

Ach! Was ist denn los?

Not great news this month as Berlin-Brandenburg Airport is rumored to throw out yet another delay on top of the many they've already delivered. As it stands, BER is scheduled to debut in late October 2013, but some news of late may throw that date into the trash pile with the other four opening dates they've previously teased.

The fresh estimate is—Gott im Himmelsometime in 2014 after fire safety experts recently reported more problems with the facility’s security system. On top of this bad news, already the airport finds itself on the receiving end of legal action from Air Berlin, who claim damages to their business on account of the massive delays. It's beyond a waiting game now; the situation has gotten ugly.

The updated history of BER's delay woes:

October 30, 2011. That was the date Berlin was supposed to debut the state-of-the-art airport. Its full name is Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt (BER). Learning that name is about as far as the public got with it, since a delay pushed everything back until...

June 3, 2012. This was it. June 3rd would be the big debut and the four carriers looking to use BER as a hub—Germanwings, Germania, Air Berlin and Lufthansa—had scheduled their summer around it. It was also the date Berlin's current airport, Tegel (TXL), was supposed to close and shift operations to BER. Then something very un-Germanic occurred: a second massive delay.

August, 2012. This was the month the fire protection problems—the cause of the June delay—were supposed to be resolved and, again, BER cleared to open. At this point, we spoke with Sabine Teller, Senior Manager of Public Relations for Air Berlin, who confirmed that though Air Berlin will fly from Berlin-Tegel (TXL) up to the opening of BER, that date "we don’t know just now.” So is it so surprising another delay followed?

March 17, 2012. This was the date the current delays were supposed to be resolved, giving the new airport a fresh opening date well in advance of prime summer travel. It was far enough away to seem feasible, but it was then widely publicized that even March is too ambitious.

October 27, 2013. According to the Berliner Morgenpost, the construction of BER is now going over budget by a half billion Euros, from 4.277 billion Euros to 4.737 billion Euros. Ouch, not to mention the damage the delays are doing to the business of Air Berlin, who banked on offering more lucrative routes from the new airport.

2014. There's not much more to say. Poor Berlin, as they've been postponing and postponing the fanfare as well as hearty welcomes to the increased flow of travelers expected to arrive with the new routes introduced to Berlin-Brandenburg.

[Photo: Wikimedia]

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