Final spurt: Just 100 days to go until the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport23.02.2012
Since the groundbreaking ceremony on 5 September 2006, 1,997 days of construction have passed on Berlin Brandenburg Airport, and in precisely 100 days from tomorrow (Friday), the time will have come for the new Capital Airport to go into operation. With the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, the existing airport system will be replaced and all air traffic will be concentrated in the new location to the south-east of Berlin. Tegel and Schönefeld will close in the evening of 2 June and on the morning of 3 June, the new airport with the IATA code BER will go into operation.
Until the opening in 100 days, the final construction work, trial runs and tenant fit-outs will all be ongoing. So what has been achieved so far? And what's left to do? A brief overview 100 days before the opening:
The trial runs for Berlin Brandenburg Airport have reached the halfway mark: the BER trial runs started in November 2011. Ground handling, security, airline and airport staff have put the airport through its paces over the course of 17 days in so-called basic trial runs, testing systems, warming up baggage carousels and getting acquainted with their new workplaces.
10,000 airport testers from Berlin and Brandenburg have been playing the role of passengers in trial runs since February. All airport procedures – from check-in through security checks to boarding – are being tested during 30-day integrated trials. By mid May, Berlin Brandenburg Airport will have been put through its paces in a further 24 days of trial runs. Besides the usual standard procedures, emergency situations will be simulated, and intentional errors and incidents integrated: e.g. some test passengers will have to try and get through security with liquids and scissors in their hand luggage. Other testers will be tasked with demanding the return of their checked-in suitcase or asking to change seats. The idea is to simulate normal airport operations as closely as possible.
Two become one – relocating from TXL and SXF to BER
Retail and gastronomy at BER
When the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport goes into operation, 150 shops, restaurants and service facilities will be offered across 20,000 m2. Besides well-known international brands, BER will primarily present high-class regional concepts from the retail, gastronomy and service sector. Work is already under way on developing rental space in close cooperation with the airport. All establishments will be inspected and approved by the authorities in time for the opening. The intense moving-in and relocation phase will begin for tenants immediately after the cleaning process on 21 May. All shops and restaurants must be stocked, operational procedures tested and staff trained on site. The airport will assist its tenants in this respect, too: around 1,500 sales staff will be trained in service standards and helped to settle in to their new workplace in time for the opening on 3 June.
Road and rail connections at BER
All transport connections to and from Berlin Brandenburg Airport have been completed. BER is easily accessible by road and rail and has its own motorway exit on the A113, which is conveniently connected to the A100 autobahn and the A10 outer motorway ring. Berlin Brandenburg Airport can easily be reached from the Berlin metropolitan area, the surrounding area of Brandenburg and the catchment area in Poland.
BER is also well connected to the public transport network: with a six-track train station directly below the terminal. The Airport Express and regional railway also offer various direct connections to destinations in Berlin and Brandenburg. Trains run every 15 minutes from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Berlin Brandenburg Airport. S-Bahn trains run every 10 minutes on both Berlin‘s eastbound and southbound ring. Additional bus services supplement the local public transport options available. As well as the regional transport network, Berlin Brandenburg Airport is well connected to towns and cities further afield, both in Germany and abroad: e.g. direct connections are available to Cracow, Münster, Hamburg and Amsterdam Schiphol.
Expanding the route network
The opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport will see airlines considerably expand their flight offerings: airberlin has been offering a new long-haul flight to Abu Dhabi since January. As of May, the airline will also be offering a non-stop flight to Los Angeles. When airberlin joins the airline alliance oneworld in March, its flight offerings will be further expanded over the long term. Lufthansa has announced 30 new destinations from BER and will expand its Berlin fleet from nine to 15 aircrafts. Other airlines such as Condor, Air France and easyJet will increase the frequencies of existing flights and offer numerous new destinations as of the summer flight schedule.
General public weekend and BER opening
On 12 and 13 May, just three weeks before the opening, all Berliners and Brandenburgers are cordially invited to get to know the new Capital Airport. The public festival "Around the terminal" will be the last opportunity to wander around the new terminal. Visitors can expect a child- and family-friendly festival on the apron, helicopter flights, music, entertainment and useful information on the new airport. On 24 May, BER Airport will be officially opened by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Governing Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit and Brandenburg's Minister President Matthias Platzeck.