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Berlin airport opening postponed

Originally published on businesstraveller.com 08/05/2012   RSS

Berlin’s brand new Brandenburg airport will not open on June 3.

According to reports on Reuters and in the German media including n24.de and spiegel.de, problems with the fire security systems mean that the opening may be delayed by several months.

Brandenburg airport (airport code: BER) is intended to replace both Tegel (TXL) and Schonefeld (SXF). A major overnight operation was planned to move all the equipment between Tegel and Brandenburg after close of business on June 2. This will now have to be cancelled.

Many passengers stand to be inconvenienced. This is not such a problem for those using one of the London airports because, other than the fact that passengers will continue to use Tegel and Schonefeld, flight operations were not being expanded.

But it is of concern to the many thousands of passengers who will have booked the many new schedules which Air Berlin and Lufthansa had planned to operate out of Brandenburg with effect from June 3. 

A press conference is currently taking place in Berlin. Business Traveller will bring you more information when available. 

According to a Lufthansa spokesperson in London, “Lufthansa will proceed with our expanded schedule from June 3 as planned. We are already in discussions with Tegel to secure the necessary slots for our new services. The extent of the delay in opening the new airport is not yet known but it could be put back until August or September.”

But local carrier Air Berlin maintains its planned expansion from June 3 cannot be sustained at Tegel. According to Harmut Mehdorn, Air Berlin’s CEO, “This re-scheduling of flights [at Tegel] means we face a great challenge. It provides all parties with enormous logistical problems and significant additional costs.”

And an Air Berlin spokesperson notes, “Our new hub at Brandenburg is designed to handle six waves of connecting flights. This system is not feasible at Tegel. Air Berlin says it will be contacting passengers as soon as possible to inform them of the situation."

In March, Air Berlin held the first media event to take place on the grounds of the new airport, to celebrate the carrier's inauguration into Oneworld (see online news March 21).

Report by Alex McWhirter

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