Planning background for the site of the BER Airport

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 process was bundled together with the Master Plan in a strategic mission statement. The basis for this was a new passenger forecast issued by Steer at the start of 2018, which forecast the potential for BER to have to handle 417,000 flight movements and 55 million passengers per year in 2040.

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. An average of approximately 132 passengers per flight movement is forecast for 2040. We are already well above the forecast passenger numbers stated in the planning permission decision, but we will only achieve a figure of 360,000 flight movements after 2030.

On this basis, the need to adjust the landside terminal infrastructure in line with the forecast is a superficial one. In order to achieve this, work has been ongoing since autumn 2018 to build a new Terminal T2. 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.

Detailed surveys will be carried out for this purpose in preparation for the planning and approval of Terminal 3. This includes, among others, reviewing the air traffic forecast, examining the impact on landside traffic (both personal and public transport), examining the impact on the environment and a new parking study.

All documents relating to planning decisions are available here: