After years of costly delays, it is possible that Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) may open next year. The facility, which was slated to be a replacement to the city’s Tempelhof (THF), Tegel (TXL) and Schoenefeld airports, has been dogged by faults and, when it opens, will do so well over budget.
Beset by years of costly delays, Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) was meant to have been completed and operational back in 2012. But almost eight years on, the facility – which was meant to be a source of pride for Berlin and Germany at-large – still hasn’t opened its doors.
Intended to act as a replacement to the city’s Tempelhof (THF), Tegel (TXL) and Schoenefeld (SXF) airports, the facility, as the BBC reports, was a concept that was born out of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the city’s politicians, this new airport would be a symbol of a new and united Germany.
However, as Professor Genia Kostka, of the Free University of Berlin, explains, “The supervisory board was full of politicians who had no idea how to supervise the project. They were in charge of key decisions.”
But for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, this was only the first of many problems to come. During the height of last decade’s financial crisis, the supervisory board struggled to find a specialist contractor to complete the facility. This meant that progress was funded via public monies.
In addition to this, an array of contracts were given to between 30 and 40 smaller businesses to help build the facility. Speaking of this particular mistake, former politician Martin Delius, who was in charge of an inquiry into the building of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, said, “They built a very complex controlling system which didn’t work.”
The outlet reports that, during the course of the building of the new airport, multiple changes were made with respect of both its size and content. This had implications for basic safety measures such as sprinklers and extractors. With the continuous change of plans “no-one knew any more what exactly had been installed where,” explains the outlet.
This chaotic approach extended to things such as ensuring that the airport had the capacity to accommodate both planes from low-cost carriers as well as craft from larger international flights.
As the public opening of the facility approached in 2012, the list of the airport’s faults – 550,000 in total – could no longer be hidden.
Of course, for every fault and every year of delay, there has been a financial impact. At present, it is reported that if the airport opens up in 2020 as planned, it will cost €6 ($6.67) billion. This is a €4 ($4.45) billion increase on its original cost projection.
But even after all of the years of delay, Delius is frank in his assessment of Berlin Brandenburg Airport. “There’s a point of no return. It’s public money. If you spend it, you need to get something out of it,” he explains.
[Featured Image: Berlin Brandenburg]