Berlin’s new hub finally on target for opening

posted on 20th August 2019
Berlin’s new hub finally on target for opening

Berlin Brandenburg Airport has been plagued with construction and planning issues but is set to open in October 2020, eight years after it was meant to

Development of Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) has been somewhat of a national embarrassment to Germany, as it was meant to open in 2012, but has been delayed due to persistent construction delays and planning permission problems.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the gateway is set to be opened in October 2020, and a topping out ceremony has taken place for Terminal 2 (T2), the last major operational structure to be built.

The terminal will be designed to handle six million passengers a year and service as a terminal for arrivals and departures provide everything from check-in, baggage drop-off and claim to security controls and service facilities through to retail and gastronomy. It will be connected to T2 via two bridges.

BER operator is Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg and CEO Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, said the topping out ceremony for T2 is a big moment for the new airport and it is the last piece in the jigsaw, before the airport goes into operation.

“The topping out ceremony marks an important first milestone for Terminal T2. It is now crucial that the conditions for the installation of the baggage handling system are accomplished by autumn,” he said.

T2 will increase the capacity of BER to between 28 to 30 million passengers in the first stage of expansion. Together with Schönefeld Airport, which will be in operation until the end of 2025 (and will later become BER Terminal T5), over 40 million passengers will be able to be handled per year at the airport from 2020.

It seems this is no false dawn and BER will finally be welcoming flights, as in May this year, the operator said establishment of the airlines’ location for flight operations had begun with all airlines, participating authorities and ground handling services attending a meeting. Allocation of the biggest airlines has been completed and is also taking place in stages for a further 80 other carriers who will operate at Berlin’s new hub.

In the future, easyJet and Lufthansa will be located in the central main Terminal 1. Eurowings will be located in the currently under-construction T2, which will have a direct connection to Pier Nord. Ryanair will use the current Schönefeld Airport terminals, which will be converted to T5 in BER.

The airport’s capacity does seem a little low as growth in Berlin is expected and when it is compared to other new city hubs like Istanbul Airport, which was opened in April and can handle 90 million passengers.

Berlin’s other airport, Berlin Tegel, is to shut once the new hub is open, but there have been calls – including from Ryanair, for it to remain open to ensure that there is sufficient capacity in and out of Berlin.

Only time will tell if Berlin’s new airport can meet future demand, although for now, just getting it opened is the first priority and target.