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Planning background for the BER Airport site

Back in 1996, the Federal States of Berlin and Brandenburg and the Federal Government came to a so-called consensus decision to bundle together the region’s air traffic at the Schönefeld location. The planning aspects for the expansion work were set in motion with the planning permission decision in 2004 and approval of the decision by the Federal Administrative Court in 2006. Estimates were made on the basis of passenger forecasts as to the capacities that the new location would need to offer. The expert opinion issued in 2000 forecast that in 2023, BER would have to handle 360,000 flight movements per year with 30 million passengers. However, positive developments seen in recent years have already resulted in higher passenger numbers since 2016. As a result, the decision was taken in 2015 for Schönefeld Airport to remain in operation beyond the opening date for BER until further capacities had been created at BER. This has been incorporated into the phased master planning.

In accordance with the planning permission decision in 2004, the figures of 360,000 flight movements per year and 30 million passengers per year were used as the planning basis for the infrastructure to be developed back then, but they were not a definitive upper limit. Where changes to forecasts arise, the infrastructure has to be adapted accordingly.
An analysis of these figures indicates that the increase in flight movements is not at the same rate as the increase in passenger numbers. The reasons for this include significantly higher seat occupancy rates as well as further developments in aircraft models with higher numbers of seats available; where there had only been an average of approximately 83 passengers per flight movement calculated in the planning permission decision in 2004, there was an average of approximately 121 passengers per flight movement calculated in 2017. This trend will increase. We are already well above the forecast passenger numbers stated in the planning permission decision, so we will only achieve a figure of 360,000 flight movements far after 2030.

On this basis, the need to adjust the landside terminal infrastructure in line with the forecast is a superficial one. For this purpose, a new Terminal 2 was already built based on the Master Plan at the end of 2020. There are also plans for Terminal 3 to be built in the Midfield site. The airside infrastructure will also be optimised.

As the authority responsible for issuing planning permission, the Joint Aviation Authority of Berlin-Brandenburg had issued its notification in summer 2018, stating that the BER 2040 Master Plan in its entirety as FBB’s strategic paper did not trigger a new planning permission process.

It is on this basis that FBB will independently request effective and definable changes to the planning permission for the respective measures as required. The competent authority responsible for issuing planning permission will then decide on the legitimate nature of the project from a technical planning perspective.
All documents relating to planning decisions are available here: