New Berlin Airport opening is slowly moving forward

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GERMANY: Berlin Brandenburg Airport Board has assured in the supervisory meeting that there is no need to abandon the planned opening of the new airport in the second half of 2017.

BER Airport is set to open in the second half of 2017. The schedule table was drawn up by Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH in December 2014. The defined schedule table also ends the phase of preparatory work in which the airport company needed to solve such fundamental issues as the underdimensioned LAN network, incomplete documentation and the inconsistent room numbering system which had so far hindered a reliable milestone plan leading to the opening of the airport.

Planning and construction at Berlin Brandenburg Airport are currently lagging behind the general schedule outlined in October 2015. A prerequisite for commissioning in the second half of 2017 is that there are yet outstanding additional demands by the building authorities concerning the 5th supplement to the building permit for the passenger terminal can be processed swiftly, whereby the focus is on three smoke extraction scenarios at the interface between the train station and the terminal. Following that, it will also be possible to complete the 6th supplement to the building permit. Only once all of the building permits are available will it be possible to complete construction of the terminal. Completion is planned for summer 2016. To this aim, capacities by companies on site have been increased to more than 700 employees.

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Dr Karsten Mühlenfeld, CEO Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said: “The fact that the 5th supplement has not yet been approved will not deter us from continuing to pursue our common goal of commissioning the airport in the second half of 2017. It goes without saying that we had anticipated obtaining approval sooner but the outstanding supplement does not currently prevent us from proceeding with construction as we are in close contact with the building authorities (BOA) with the result that we know what has to be built and how. Work which is not affected by the 5th supplement is being continued.”

Michael Müller, Mayor of Berlin and Chairman of the FBB Supervisory Board said: “Everyone knows that it will be difficult to meet a deadline of opening in the second half of 2017. But the decisive question is not the exact date on which we will be opening. If we manage to go online in 2017, the airport company is taking the right approach by investing a great effort in continuing to work on completion. Pressure must not ease off on construction activities during this phase. But we do expect the authorities to make a constructive contribution in accordance with the law.”

Berlin Brandenburg Airport has a six-track underground railway station with three platforms directly under the terminal. The project managers estimate that one in two travellers will come to the new airport using public transport.

The Airport Express already connects Schönefeld Airport with downtown Berlin. In future, trains will run every 15 minutes between Berlin Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) and BER. The journey will take half an hour. Numerous S-Bahn trains (every 10 minutes) and bus connections complement the public transportation offers.

Deutsche Bahn will also include Berlin Brandenburg Airport in its route network and offer international and regional connections. Regional trains will run directly from BER to destinations in Brandenburg, and long-distance services will be operated to destinations such as Hamburg, Hanover, Amsterdam, Wrocław and Cracow. All rail tracks to and from the new airport will be capable of handling ICE trains.