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Berlin Brandenburg International Airport sits empty while it awaits its future. (Photo: Muns – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19433243)

Berlin Brandenburg Airport Sets New Opening Date For Next Year

After almost fourteen years of construction and delays, the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is on track to open its gates ten years late on Oct. 31, 2020, the beginning of the 2020 IATA Winter season,

The Supervisory Board last week approved the final timetable that should see the first arrivals at the new airport during the evening of Oct. 30, while the first departures from the new terminals will be on the morning of Oct. 31. Four days later, on Nov. 4, the new southern runway will be inaugurated, and that will trigger the countdown that will require the existing Berlin Tegel airport to shut down permanently within 90 days.

However, the current timetable sees Tegel’s closure set for Nov. 8, at which point Berlin Brandenburg will become the only commercial airport serving the German capital. The current Schoenefeld Airport, which was opened as a civilian airport in 1947 and for many years served as a gateway for East Berlin, will be incorporated into the new airport and its existing building should continue to serve as a terminal for low-cost airlines.

The new airport’s IATA code will be BER and existing codes for Tegel (TXL) and Schoenefeld (SXF) will be decommissioned.

“With today’s announcement of the opening date, a new stage begins in the development of BER. The decision also shows that the airport company is on the right track. […] The Supervisory Board welcomed the naming of the specific relocation timetable as a success for the entire workforce of the airport company” said Rainer Bretschneider, President of the Supervisory Board for Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.

Initially expected to be operational in Oct. 2011, the airport has been plagued by construction delays, malfunctioning fire systems, scandals and cost overruns which has progressively become an embarrassment for the city of Berlin and for Germany. Just as the airport operator had finally announced what is the expected final timetable for its opening, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported how the construction work still required for the completion of the new terminal will require almost 300 million euros in excess of the 508 million already earmarked in the accounts of the Airport company. The final tally for the terminal is now expected to exceed 2.6 billion Euros.

European low-cost carrier easyJet, which has had a base at Berlin Schoenefeld since 2004, will be the first carrier to move into the new terminal on Oct. 31, 2020, and will operate flights on the following day. easyJet, which currently has 25 aircraft based at Berlin Tegel will become the largest operator at Brandenburg Airport with a total of 35 aircraft, becoming easyJet’s second-largest base behind London Gatwick.

The second group of carriers will make the transition to Berlin Brandenburg between Nov. 3 and 4, then all the remaining airlines will follow on Nov. 8 after Tegel ends operations. At this stage, it is not known when German flag carrier Lufthansa will relocate from Tegel to Berlin Brandenburg.

The original Schonefeld terminal, which has continued to see improvements and construction works, will be renamed Brandenburg Terminal 5 and will host Ryanair as well as charter airlines.

Vanni Gibertini
Vanni Gibertini
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