Airport opens on 27 October 2013; Capital requirement of €1.2bn07.09.2012
Today the new COO of Berlin Airport, Horst Amann, presented the results of his evaluation of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport to the airport’s Supervisory Board. The new opening date will be 27 October 2013, i.e. the beginning of the winter schedule 2013/2014. According to Amann, the first priority is to finalise all remaining actions plans. Subsequently, the construction works will resume in the autumn and will be concluded by summer 2013, so that the official approval procedures can be finalised in time for a trial period of several months.
The second key point on the agenda of the Supervisory Board was the financing of the new airport. The supervisory board noted in agreement that, according to the management team’s financing plan, there is an additional capital requirement of €1.2bn. The supervisory board recommends that the proprietors’ general meeting should take decisions as to how this capital requirement can be met. The European Commission is to be notified of the financing concept in the coming days.
Pressing the reset button: Shortcomings concerning the fire safety installations
Mr Amann stated during the press conference following today’s Supervisory Board meeting: ”I have questioned existing assumptions, commitments and plans. I have pressed the reset button in the area of building services, analysed the current situation and decided upon the next steps. Only such a fresh start can get the airport back on track towards a reliable opening date. “
Mr Amann stated that in his evaluation he has identified four crucial issues concerning the fire safety installations:
- The existing execution plans suffered from faults and gaps. These plans had been drawn up by the planning consortium whose contract was terminated last May by the airport. Mr Amann said: “We are still lacking plans for a coherent, integrated planning process. Further work is needed in this area to ensure that the construction companies have a reliable basis to work from for the remainder of the project.“
- Improper works were carried out on the construction site as a result of the accelerated work programme ahead of the previous opening date of 3 June 2012 that have led to issues such as the overcrowding of cable trays.
- The issues around the improper construction works that were carried out ahead of the previous opening date were made worse by inadequate coordination and supervision.
- The relationship with the authority responsible for the construction (Bauordnungsamt) is to be improved. Mr Amann: “We have to provide reliable information and unambiguous functional demonstrations of the fire protection installations to ensure that the authorities will be able to declare the airport operational.“
Next steps towards BER
Mr Amann said during the press conference that works have almost been suspended for the duration of the evaluation. The next steps ahead of the opening will be as follows:
- Until autumn 2012: Finalisation of remaining action plans
- Autumn 2012 to summer 2013: Remaining construction works
- Summer 2013: Adherence test and subsequent assessment by the construction authority
- Summer to autumn 2013: Conclude operational readiness of the airport and trial runs
- Summer to autumn 2013: Delivery of goods to storage facilities, shops and restaurants
- 26 October 2013: Closure of the two old airports Schönefeld and Tegel
- 26/27 October 2013: Move to the new airport
- 27 October 2013: Start of operations at BER
Mr Amann said that this revised timetable is reliable and realistic. He has already started to create clear structures and responsibilities among contracted companies. ”The next step will be to strengthen the position of the airport as the party leading the project. “Responding to rumours about the construction site, Mr Amann said: ”Following my evaluation, I can’t confirm rumours that there is a systemic error in the fire protection installation. Equally, all those rumours that there was water in the basement, that the southern runway was bared by water or that the tower was leaning are completely without foundation.“
Mr Amann also countered criticism that the airport had been planned too small. ”This is nonsense“, said Mr Amann. “The capacity is sufficient. We can expand the airport in step with growing passenger numbers. This is a sound approach that makes economic sense.“
Capital requirement remains at €1.2bn
The capital requirement remains unchanged at €1.2bn despite the longer period until the opening in late October 2013:
- Additional construction cost so far: 276m €
- Additional construction cost due to delayed opening: 67m €
- Additional operational cost due to delayed opening: 230m €
- Risk provision for other cost and loss of revenue: 322m €
- Additional cost due to noise abatement measures: 305m €
Total: 1.2bn €
Schwarz: Ensure that Tegel Airport remains operational for longer
In view of continuously rising passenger numbers and the extension of operations at Tegel, Mr Schwarz announced to evaluate all areas that could bring potential improvements for Berlin’s largest airport. According to Mr Schwarz, in the first eight months of the year the number of passengers at Tegel rose by 7.6%, from 11 to 11.8 million. “We expect further growth in the coming months. We therefore have to ensure that the conditions for airlines and passengers at Tegel are as positive as possible over the coming months”, said Mr Schwarz. “We have already identified a number of weaknesses at Tegel, for instance that the error rate is too high for baggage of connecting passengers. We are working with the airlines and handling company GlobeGround to get on top of these issues.“
Further discussions with BER tenants
Mr Schwarz also announced that the airport company will continue to hold talks with all tenants of the new airport about the new situation concerning the opening date. In total, there are about 150 retail units in the making at BER, among which are 39 restaurants and 20 service providers. Mr Schwarz said: “We want to minimise the risks for our tenants that have been caused by the delay and aim to avoid cases of hardship. Our objective is still to keep all tenants on board, if possible. “ Over the past few months, the airport company has already discussed individual solutions with tenants such as providing space at the existing airports Tegel and Schönefeld or agreeing to the termination of bank guarantees to prevent potential economic difficulties for individual tenants.