Ground-breaking ceremony for Berlin’s new airport

05.09.06 13:51
The Governing Mayor of Berlin, the prime minister of the State of Brandenburg, the federal transport minister, and the managing directors of Berlin Airports today attended the ground-breaking ceremony for Berlin’s new international airport BBI.
The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, the prime minister of the State of Brandenburg, Matthias Platzeck, the federal transport minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, and the managing directors of Berlin Airports today attended the ground-breaking ceremony for Berlin’s new international airport BBI, thus marking the start of construction on the most important traffic and infrastructure project in eastern Germany.

In his speech, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, stated: “The expansion of Schöneberg Airport to build the new BBI is a central project for Germany’s capital city. BBI will greatly enhance Berlin’s ability to compete on an international level; it will bring more visitors to the city, create international air connections and generate more jobs. The ground-breaking ceremony underscores the fact that BBI has now taken the step from the drawing board into reality. The flexible plans for BBI make the new airport ideally suited to handle all types of air traffic, from low-cost carriers to scheduled services and intercontinental flights.”

Matthias Platzeck, prime minister of the State of Brandenburg: “Our future is being built here! BBI is a key driving force for creating jobs in Berlin and Brandenburg. The region has already received orders worth €180 million on account of the airport and local businesses stand to profit by bidding for the many services listed in the BBI tender directory. The current construction phase will be governed by the same stringent rules that applied during the approval process: the airport will be a good, reliable neighbour. The successful resettlement of the village of Diepensee and parts of the village of Selchow, the wide range of compensating measures, ecological monitoring of all planning and construction processes and an extensive noise protection scheme all pull together to create a good, sound basis for the future.”

The federal transport minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, stressed the significance of the new airport: “BBI will be a modern, highly competitive airport and traffic hub, and will be fully equipped with the very best rail and road connections. The airport is a crucial new addition to Germany’s airports; its outstanding transregional importance is a key step in the regeneration of eastern Germany. Today’s ground-breaking ceremony also sends out a clear message that Germany remains one of the world’s leading business locations: we are implementing all the necessary projects to ensure that we remain internationally competitive, and we are further boosting the attractiveness of the German capital and the entire region.”

BBI will provide the region around the German capital with an urgently needed airport capable of coping with the increase in air traffic volumes over the next few decades. When the airport opens at the start of the 2011/2012 winter timetable it will have the capacity to handle 22-25 million passengers per annum. BBI is based on a modular plan and can be extended as required to handle as many as 40 million passengers in line with market growth.

“The dynamic growth of Berlin Airports will continue to accelerate in the second half of 2006,” said airport director Dr. Rainer Schwarz. “Increasing traffic volumes are an important prerequisite for BBI. I am fully confident that we can position BBI on the market as an airport with a strong focus on European and selected intercontinental point-to-point traffic. The airport’s unique location at the heart of Europe means that it is destined to become the premier stepping stone to eastern Europe and Asia. We are also convinced that the low-cost segment, which already plays a key role in air traffic, will continue to occupy a strong position.”

The architecture of BBI will clearly reference that of the German capital,” said BBI managing director Thomas Weyer. “Our work is shaped by a decisive cost-consciousness; the extension will follow a modular plan in line with market demand. Construction costs are below those of comparable projects and low operating costs for the terminal are key planning targets.”

Hannes Stefan Hönemann

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