Open letter from employee representatives

Flight path debate: yes! Airport hysteria: no thanks!

On behalf of the works councils and the youth and trainees council JAV (Jugend- und Auszubildendenvertretung) of Flughafen Berlin-Schoenefeld GmbH (FBS) and Berliner Flughafengesellschaft mbH (BFG), we hereby send you the enclosed open letter entitled “Flight path debate: yes! Airport hysteria: no thanks!”

The works councils and the youth and trainees council JAV (Jugend- und Auszubildendenvertretung) of Flughafen Berlin-Schoenefeld GmbH (FBS) and Berliner Flughafengesellschaft mbH (Berlin Airports) welcome the fact that since yesterday’s presentation by Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the flight paths for aircraft taking off and landing at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport are clear. We hope that this will bring an end to a debate for which we have had a serious lack of understanding of late.

BER is the most significant development project not only for airport employees, but for the entire region, too. The airport alone employs 1,500 staff. A total of almost 18,000 employees work at the airports Schoenefeld and Tegel, and this number will increase with BER: as of 2012, BER will be the region’s biggest employer with around 20,000 staff working directly for the airport. And that’s not all: Berlin Airports will help secure and create even more jobs in the region. BER will create 40,000 new jobs. Experts are anticipating a total employment effect of 73,000 jobs.

There is something very special about working in the aviation industry. While many of us work exhausting shifts and during the night, a lot of us are currently shouldering twice the workload – our “normal” duties at the existing airports plus preparations for the new airport. Us airport staff have “kerosene in our blood”, so we really don’t mind. We are simply delighted that our work is gradually helping to improve the international accessibility of the German capital region.

In order to ensure all employees at both airports also feel at home at BER, i.e. have a secure job there, employee representatives have been in months of negotiations to reach extremely satisfactory agreements for a “TransFair BBI” without any social hardships! This success will positively impact us at BER and beyond.

We would be very surprised if the strident tones and great emotions, often for no apparent reason, were to continue after the Noise Abatement Commission’s final meeting yesterday. We ask all those continuing to protest loudly to please consider the following:

  • Those protesting against the airport are against a competitive region. The consequences of BER not going into operation as planned after being built are job losses, wage cuts, companies and qualified employees moving out of the area.
  • Those protesting against the airport are putting their, our children’s and our grandchildren’s job and training opportunities at risk. • Those protesting against the airport are effectively accepting the status quo as a given: i.e. continued air traffic in Tegel, right in the middle of the city, instead of cutting noise pollution considerably in the region by closing inner-city airports.
  • We all live in Berlin and Brandenburg and are delighted with the international interest in our region. In such a densely populated capital region, we must all be prepared to tolerate a certain amount of noise if we are to get along.
  • We have noticed that some people are no longer being objective in their argumentation, preferring instead to be antisocial and shift the burden.
  • A few years ago, regional connections to international transport networks came under criticism – now there are calls for a regional airport, which would weaken the structure of our region, something which we are finally managing to overcome, and our competitive position both nationally and internationally.
  • Schoenefeld was chosen 15 years ago, in 1996. Permission to expand the airport was granted by the Federal Administrative Court in its final hearing in 2006. There were plenty of opportunities during the month-long hearings to raise objections.
  • We believe that the flight path proposals put forward yesterday by DFS are an acceptable compromise. The topic of flight paths should have nothing to do with the construction and operation of the airport itself: the possibility of parallel take-offs and off-peak flights as well as the establishment of hub structures are non-negotiable.

We have observed the political negotiations, hoped and worried about our jobs for long enough. Now it’s time for TXL and SXF to finally become BER!

BER is the new, future workplace for us airport staff and the most significant development project for the region. That’s why we’re calling for an end to the airport hysteria!

Spokesman Lars Wagner

Lars Wagner Head of the Press Office / Spokesman
Berlin Brandenburg Airport

+49 30 6091-70100 +49 30 6091-70070