BER opening delayed: update on current work

Berlin, 04.06.2012

According to previous plans, air traffic in the Berlin-Brandenburg region should have been concentrated at Berlin Brandenburg Airport on 3 June. As the opening date has now been rescheduled for 17 March 2013, former plans have now been scrapped. At the same time, passengers and interested parties are asking a number of questions: e.g. How have Berlin passengers been affected since Sunday, 3 June 2012, the original opening date for Berlin Brandenburg Airport? How will the delayed opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport affect the existing airports Schönefeld and Tegel? What is the status quo on the airport construction site? What steps are now planned?

The answers to key questions asked by travellers can found here:

Further questions and answers can be found here:

  • How is the airport company planning to ensure no unnecessary delays are caused by the dismissal of the general contractor and building supervisor
    The airport company is planning to supervise some of the construction itself with a team of 100 employees from Planning and Construction. Talks are currently being held with subcontractors of pgi bbi on pushing ahead with individual work packages. By mid June, the airport company will have checked current plans for any potential areas of conflict and handed them over to the construction firm, who will then resume work on the fire protection system. Construction work ought to be completed by December this year. Following the so-called impact and complex inspection in January, trial runs will be held with voluntary testers in February and March. As reported, the new opening date for the airport is 17 March 2013.
  • Is it still possible to visit the airport construction site?
    Yes. It is still possible to visit the BER construction site. The Infotower is open daily during the summer from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (10 a.m.–4 p.m. during the winter), tours of BER Airport will be available again from mid June. These can be booked by calling +49 30 6091-77777. Airport tours depart from the bus stop outside of airportworld, opposite Schönefeld train station. airportworld, the airport's visitors' centre at Schönefeld train station, has already closed. Staff of the visitors' centre can still be reached in person or by telephone in the Infotower on +49 30 6091-77777.
  • Are the defects in the fire protection system the only reason for postponing the opening date?
    Yes. BER can only open if the fire protection system is fully functioning. Besides problems with the fire protection system, trial runs showed the lack of reliability of various technical systems. Therefore, additional check-in desks and security checkpoints had to be set up as a back-up. These type of problems would not, however, have jeopardised the
  • What construction work has been completed?
    The following have been completed: the BER train station, aircraft operation areas (aprons, taxiways, south runway), power supply facilities (substation, three power stations, mains system), primary access roads, underground connections (e.g. water supply network, communications technology, underground fuelling), operational buildings (e.g. access control points, three fire stations, airport filling stations), multi-storey car parks, car rental centre, hangars. Expansion activities in the passenger terminal, however, are still ongoing. In large parts of the terminal the ceiling shutters and wall panels are currently still open, in order to allow construction workers and experts unrestricted access for adjusting, measuring and controlling technical systems, and to carry out any remaining work as well as rectify any defects.
  • What will happen with buildings already or soon-to-be completed?

    The first operational areas and buildings at BER will be used before the airport goes into operation in March 2013. Specifically, these are:

    Power stations: These went into operation in June 2011 and supply the airport with heating, cooling and electricity.

    Fire stations: The airport fire stations were handed over to the airport fire service and put into operation.

    Security building: Security staff, the federal police and customs all work in the new security building at BER.

    Canteen: The BER staff canteen is already open and can be used by construction workers and airport staff.

  • Could a harsh winter jeopardise the schedule?
    No. All the surface work has been completed outside. The winter weather will not jeopardise the completion of the interior work.
  • How many construction workers are currently on the building site? And what exactly are they doing?
    After the opening date was postponed, the number of construction workers dropped from 7,000 to 5,000. 2,000 workers from a variety of trades are actually employed in the terminal to carry out e.g. tenant fit-outs, take over fire watch and protect the property.
  • Is the airport becoming more expensive?
    Yes. Additional expenses have been incurred due to the delayed opening. The airport company will compile a detailed breakdown of costs in time for the Supervisory Board meeting on 22 June.
  • What will happen with the tenants of some 150 retail, restaurant and service outlets?
    The airport company is currently discussing the change in circumstances with tenants of the new airport. It is in the interests of the airport to avoid any hardship or situation that may pose an existential threat, especially to small companies. The airport company would like to uphold all tenancy agreements and does not wish to lose any tenants as a result of the delayed opening. A strong regional dimension should be ensured with the many small and medium-sized regional companies as tenants. In the months leading up to the opening of BER, the airport company will ensure that already developed rental units are protected against theft, and dust from construction work.
  • Can the ILA take place as planned?
    The International Aerospace Exhibition ILA 2012 will take place as planned from 11 to 16 September 2012 at its new venue, Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, directly adjacent to Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Special permits will be obtained for necessary aircraft operation areas such as the south runway at BER; this will ensure the event runs smoothly both on the ground and in the air.
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