Great progress is being made at Europe’s biggest airport construction site

02.03.11 09:27
Work on the interior of the terminal continues / Baggage handling system already being tested / Concrete laying practically completed / Cranes turn at the Airport City
The construction work at Europe’s largest airport building site is making great progress: more than 3,000 workers are working at top speed to complete the new Capital Airport BBI, which opens on 2 June 2012. During a tour of the building site, which is the size of 2,000 football pitches, Berlin Airports’ Director of Operations/BBI, Dr. Manfred A. Körtgen, provided an update about the current status of the building work:

“2011 is an important year for us. On the BBI building site the key construction phases are being completed and the new airport is gradually filling with life. By the time the trial runs start in November, all the main elements have to be functioning smoothly; the trials will ensure that they are carefully coordinated and fine-tuned”, said Körtgen. “Today, as you walk through the central terminal hall, the marketplace and the baggage handling system, you can already tell that what is being built here is a state-of-the-art airport for the region surrounding Germany’s capital city.”

Building work at the new terminal continues to make rapid progress: at the moment the floors are being laid, the facades for the jetways installed and the interplay between all the different components of the baggage handling system are being coordinated. In the terminal departure hall the installation of the check-in areas is progressing to plan, and visitors can already see exactly where passengers will be checking in their bags after 3 June 2012.

In addition to the work inside the terminal, work in the other areas of the airport also continues as scheduled. In the Airport City the cranes are busy and the multi-story car parks are gradually emerging. Large sections of the new south runway have been completed and the runway and navigation lights will be tested in April.


In the terminal and the piers 3,000 square metres of floor tiles made of natural Jura stone have been laid. Underneath these tiles an innovative underfloor heating and cooling system has been installed, which is already used to heat parts of the terminal with energy from the BBI power stations. What makes this system special is that it can also be used to cool the building in the summer.


BBI Airport will have more than 25 jetways, 16 of which are being built along the main pier of the terminal. A further nine jetways will be located on the south pier. In the last few months around 2,500 tons of steel have been used for the structural work here, and the installation of the steel structures is almost completed. Two-thirds of the glass facades have been installed


To provide passengers with the highest level of comfort and convenience on their way to the aircraft, eight walkways will be installed in both the main pier and the south pier to get passengers to their flight as quickly as possible. The walkways in the main pier are up to 65 metres long, while those in the south pier are up to 74 metres in length.


The 9,000 square metre marketplace is the central shopping and eating area at the new BBI. Located right behind the central security area is a 1,800 square metre duty-paid shop which will be operated by Gbr. Heinemann GbR. The shop has been designed as a walk-through store; the contours of the future shopping paradise are already clearly visible. A 2,000 square metre food court with seven food and beverage concessions is located immediately behind this.

Terminal departure hall

The building progress is especially visible in the terminal departure hall. At the end of December the glass facade was finished and work on the interior fittings is now underway. Currently, eight check-in islands are being installed. When BBI opens there will be 104 check-in counters here. In April 2013 the capacity will be extended to ten check-in islands with 132 counters.

Assembly work for the roof membrane is also in its final stages. Similar to the Berlin Olympic Stadium, the underside of the terminal roof will change according to the time of day, giving passengers a bright, cheerful structure to look at and creating a pleasant ambience inside the terminal building. The membrane will be sturdy enough for workers to walk on it for maintenance purposes.

Baggage handling system

Work on the baggage handling system is almost complete. Currently the diverse components of the system are being coordinated and fine-tuned, including the two sorters, each with 400 luggage shells, which will be used to move the suitcases. With the airport’s considerable passenger capacity, speed is of the essence and every tenth of a second will count. The sorters will have a capacity of up to 15,000 items of luggage per hour.

Airside areas

Most of the concrete has been laid for the new 4,000 metre runways, the aprons and the taxiway systems. Currently, the lighting masts are being installed on the aprons. In April the tests start on the new south runway lights and navigation lights.

Fire Station West

Two new fire stations are being built for BBI. Fire station west contains two halls for large vehicles, the fire department control centre, the airport control centre, the emergency operations centre, the security control centre and the technical service centre. With all these facilities, it is the nerve centre of BBI where all processes are controlled. In fire station east there are 14 parking spaces for emergency vehicles. One of the main purposes of this complex is to provide fire protection for the terminal building. The facades of both fire stations have almost been completed and the gates have been installed.

Airport City

In September 2010 work began to build the Airport City. By the time BBI opens, a 4-star superior hotel operated by the Steigenberger Group, an office building and three car parks will have been built on this 16-hectare site immediately in front of the terminal. Between the terminal access area and the piers, a car park and a car rental centre are being built. Currently, there are 17 cranes on the Airport City site, and every day the car park buildings grow visibly higher.
Hannes Stefan Hönemann

Hannes Stefan Hönemann Head of Corporate

+49 30 6091-70100

Daniel Tolksdorf

Daniel Tolksdorf Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100

Kathrin Westhölter

Kathrin Westhölter Spokesperson

+49 30 6091-70100