Taking stock after 1,000 days of construction work at BBI: Capital Airport takes shape02.06.2009
Prof. Dr. Rainer Schwarz, CEO of Berlin Airports: “Two-and-a-half years ago, there were only fields and meadows here. Today, the blueprint of the airport is clearly recognisable. 2011 will see a new player on the German aviation market – BBI. The road ahead is clear: in building BBI, Berlin is creating a hub in the heart of new Europe. The goal is to take the Berlin-Brandenburg region into the top 10 airport locations in Europe with BBI. Twenty years after the fall of the Wall, the metropolis Berlin has been put back on the map of Europe in terms of air traffic.”
Manfred Körtgen, BBI/Technical Director at Berlin Airports says: “Those who look at the BBI construction site – after 1,000 days of construction work – to the south-east of Berlin will immediately see: what was once Potsdamer Platz in the 90s is now the BBI airport construction site. The place where Berlin’s future is being built. We are currently in one of the most exciting phases of construction: BBI is rising up from the ground. A face is being given to the airport. The terminal, new runway, and road and rail link are clearly taking shape. Now everyone can see what 1,000 days ago only planners and architects were able to recognise: an airport is being built here.”
On schedule: Berlin Airports will complete the concrete work on the terminal in autumn and start working on the steel and glass facade. The order volume for BBI is currently 1.5 billion euros. Companies from the region have secured 64 per cent of the total order volume. The topping-out ceremony for the airport’s centrepiece is set for spring 2010. Starting in May 2011, the airport will be tested thoroughly in extensive trial runs. The first planes will land at the start of the 2011/2012 winter flight schedule on 30 October 2011.
Funding for the airport is also well under way. In mid May, the European Commission gave the go-ahead to guarantee a loan for BBI totalling 2.4 billion euros by means of a 100% government loan guarantee. The first loan contribution is already available: Berlin Airports has agreed on a 400 million euro loan with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB and Berlin Airports also intend signing a subsequent loan agreement worth 600 million euros. Negotiations with other banks to borrow the remaining 1.4 billion euros are well under way and will be completed in the second half of the year.
BBI is not only the most significant development project in the German capital region, it is also at an invaluable geographical advantage: Berlin is the only place in Europe capable of doubling its air traffic capacities to 40–45 million passengers in the next few years and thus securing its growth and competitiveness. BBI will therefore enable Berlin to be even better connected to the world than it is today. New long-haul flights and a new direction towards Eastern Europe and Asia: with BBI, Berlin has the potential to once again become a key east-west hub on the continent in the next few years.