Berlin’s new international airport can open next month after an embarrassing nine-year delay despite the coronavirus pandemic taking a big bite out of air travel, its chief manager said Tuesday.
“On October 31, 2020, BER will open,” the boss of the new facility, Engelbert Luetke-Daldrup, told reporters.
“The German capital will finally have an airport that meets international standards.”
Terminal 1 of the airport located on the southern outskirts of Berlin will be inaugurated with departures by German flag carrier Lufthansa and British no-frills airline EasyJet.
A few shops and a tourism office will also open their doors the first day, but other terminals will have to wait until next year to serve passengers, Luetke-Daldrup said, due to a drop in demand because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The current Schoenefeld airport located nearby will become Terminal 5.
Social distancing measures, however, will put a damper on the planned celebrations.
“There won’t be a big party, just an opening,” Luetke-Daltrup said.
BER was set to open in 2011 but the date was repeatedly pushed back over a series of issues, including fire safety and corruption.
In the meantime, the cost of the facility exploded to 6.5 billon euros ($7.6 billion) from a 1.7-billion-euro budget initially.
“The road to the opening wasn’t easy,” Luetke-Daldrup admitted, noting the “shame” felt by German engineers over a project that became a running joke among locals.
Source: Punch 29th September 2020