In 88 days’ time, a new era will dawn for the Berlin-Brandenburg aviation location / Airlines counting on the BER / Steady growth in traffic for the past nine years / Preview of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Web site online as of today
It's not every day that a new airport opens in Europe. This will finally be the case in 88 days' time when Berlin Brandenburg Airport will be commencing operations, thereby replacing the obsolete airport system comprising Schönefeld and Tegel, which also included Tempelhof until 2008. Assigned an IATA code of BER, Europe's most modern airport will officially open on 3 June 2012. "A new era dawns for the region around the capital with the opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport", claimed airport boss, Prof. Dr. Rainer Schwarz, at this year's ITB press conference for Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH. "Tourism is already booming in Berlin and Bran-denburg. And I am certain that the tourism and conference business in the region around the German capital will benefit enormously from the new airport."
Better than the market nine times in succession
For the first time in the company's history, the number of passengers at Berlin's Tegel and Schönefeld Airports passed the 24 million mark in 2011. This represents an increase of 7.7 per cent over the previous year. With the result that for the ninth year in a row, air traffic in Berlin-Brandenburg continued to develop better than the average recorded by other international airports in Germany, putting the capital into third place among Germany's commercial airports. Schwarz: "2011 was a year marked by records. 24 million passengers provide us with a good momentum for opening the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt. These results mean that we have already exceeded our original plans for the opening year before the airport has in fact officially opened! The increasing aircraft utilisation rate is particularly gratifying as well as being evidence of a healthy aviation market in the region around the capital. The goal for 2012 is to take advantage of this good starting position, continue to grow and establish new routes.
Air traffic continued to grow in Berlin and Brandenburg at the beginning of the year in which the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt is to be officially opened. A total of 3,295,749 passengers were served in the first two months of this year at Schönefeld and Tegel Airports, representing an increase of 5.1 per cent over the same period last year.
2012 summer flight plan: additions to the route network
The region around the capital is to experience the best summer ever in the form of the 2012 summer flight plan with airlines significantly extending their routes when Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens. 172 destinations in 50 countries are to be served by 75 airlines. The new summer flight plan includes 16 new destinations such as Los Angeles, Windhoek, Marseilles, Bologna, Gdansk and Valencia. "Not only the range of destinations is being increased – numerous airlines are also increasing their flight frequency", claims Schwarz. "These increases in frequency are of major strategic importance for us as they enable further development of the hub structures which we wish to push steadily on opening BER."
New era dawns for the Berlin-Brandenburg airport location
When the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens on 3 June 2012, the region around the capital will avail of an airport which offers potential for further growth: BER is the only airport in Europe capable of practically doubling its current aviation capacity. Berlin's market leaders (airberlin, Lufthansa and easyJet) have already presented their expansion programmes. airberlin commenced a new long-haul connection to Abu Dhabi in January with Los Angeles and Windhoek to follow in May 2012. When airberlin joins the oneworld air traffic alliance in Berlin on 20 March 2012, the route network will be extended continuously. Lufthansa has announced its most extensive expansion programme to date in time for the BER opening: the airline is to serve 32 new destinations from BER and increase its Berlin fleet from 9 to 15 aircraft. easyJet will also be continuing its growth course at BER by adding two new routes. "The expansion plans by our largest airlines are plain to see: a third major player is entering the German market in the form of Berlin Brandenburg Airport", adds Prof. Dr. Schwarz. "The ground is clearly prepared for growth in the region around the capital. With their unambiguous commitment to BER, airberlin, Lufthansa and easyJet have sent a positive signal for the future of air traffic at the Berlin-Brandenburg location." Other airlines will also continue to add to growth at BER. Condor is to increase its flight offering by four new routes to 17 destinations and an additional 15 take-offs per week. Norwegian is offering three new destinations and adding 14 take-offs a week, serving eight destinations from BER. Turk-ish Airlines is adding another destination to its two existing routes as well as eleven additional take-offs per week.
Shopping and dining at BER
When the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens, it will also offer 150 shops, dining and service facilities on an area covering 20,000 square metres. The heart piece will be formed by a marketplace spanning approx. 9,000 square metre on the runway side in the centre of the main terminal. Encompassing 1,800 square metres, a Gebr. Heinemann Duty-Paid Shop will form the entrance to the marketplace. Apart from international brands such as Tiffany, Boss & Burberry, Starbucks or McDonalds, high-quality regional concepts representing retail outlets, food and service will also be presented at BER. Accordingly, Witty’s (curried sausage, originally located at Wittenbergplatz), Felicitas – Sweet Capital (a confectionery offering sweet goods from Berlin and Brandenburg), from Spreewald & More (re-gional souvenirs such as the famous Spreewald gherkins) and the Berliner Kaffeerösterei with selected coffee specialities will also be represented at BER, to name but a few. And famous Berlin restaurants such as Lutter & Wegner, Borchardt’s and Ständige Vertretung can also be found at BER.
Open weekend and official BER opening
Three weeks before the official opening, everyone in Berlin and Brandenburg is welcome to come and see the new airport on 12 and 13 May. The "Rund ums Terminal" public festival offers a last opportunity to walk around the new terminal. Visitors can look forward to a festival for children and families on the apron, helicopter sightseeing flights, music, entertainment and information concerning the new airport. 24 May will then see the official BER opening festivities with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit and the Minister President of the State of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck.
preview.berlin-airport.de goes live
As of today, the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Web site is online. In an initial step, information is available on arrivals, departures, shops and catering facilities, for example. Business partners will find information on investment and advertising opportunities at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport as well as basic information on the company. The Web site is to be further extended over the next few weeks with the full site to be available when the new airport officially opens. It will then replace this current Web site on 3 June 2012. With immediate effect, passengers, people collecting passengers, visitors and anyone else who is interested can obtain an insight into the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport for the region around the German capital at http://preview.berlin-airport.de.
Final spurt during construction of the new airport
Since construction began on 5 September 2006, the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport has sprouted to the south of Schönefeld Airport. The aviation areas and operational buildings are complete as are the underground facilities, train station, tracks and power centres. 5,000 construction workers are currently preoccupied with completing work on the Berlin Brandenburg Airport site. In the remaining 88 days until the airport officially opens, further interior design of the terminal, development of the tenant spaces and outdoor areas including greenery will continue. Site equipment will be dismantled, final cleaning performed and the buildings furnished.
Trial operation has been underway at BER since November 2011. Within the framework of so-called basic trial operation over a period of 17 days, employees representing ground handling services, safety, airlines and the actual airport initially tested the systems, started up the baggage belts and familiarised themselves with their new workplace. Additional extras have been deployed during trial operation since February: acting as passengers, 10,000 people from Berlin and Brandenburg have been testing their new airport. During integration trial operation, all of the airport processes are simulated over a total of 30 days – from check-in through security controls to boarding. By mid-May, Berlin Brandenburg Airport will have been tested thoroughly over an additional 21 days of trial operations. Apart from classic operational processes, emergency situations will also be drilled with faults and breakdowns integrated intentionally: some test passengers, for example, are obliged to attempt to pass through security controls with liquids and scissors in their hand luggage while others have the task of demanding that baggage already checked in is returned or seats changed. The aim is to simulate normal air traffic as realistically as possible.
Two become one – relocation from TXL and SXF to BER
Relocation from Tegel and Schönefeld Airports to the new site is to start in April with a relocation command centre to be established. The aim is to co-ordinate relocation by around 190 airport users in the weeks leading up to the opening – 4,000 rooms and offices are to be occupied at BER and 150 retail units stocked with goods. Initial equipment and devices are to be transported from the two airports to Berlin Brandenburg Airport. The night from 2 to 3 June will then be the scene for a major logistical challenge: the two airports are to be merged at BER within a timeframe of a mere few hours. Most of the vehicles and apron equipment (e.g. fire service vehicles, tugs and other special vehicles) will have to be brought to Berlin Brandenburg Airport on that night with around 600 truck journeys anticipated. The motorway from Tegel will be closed in the direction of BER for several hours.