Air Travel News
New Berlin airport opening is months away; Munich plans expansion
The opening of Germany’s Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), scheduled for June 3 but then put off for a few months, has now been pushed back even further; meanwhile, Munich Airport has started work on an expansion project.
When they first announced the delayed opening of the new Berlin airport, city officials said it would probably take only a few months to complete improvements to and retesting of the terminal building’s fire safety systems, so the airport could open in late summer or early fall. But now they have set an opening date of March 17, 2013.
Until the new facility can finally open, Berlin’s existing airport—Tegel—will continue operating; it had been slated to close down when the Brandenburg facility started up.
The delay has presented major problems for Lufthansa and Air Berlin, the two largest operators at Berlin. Both carriers have announced significantly expanded schedules at Berlin, made possible by the additional capacity of the Brandenburg airport. And now they are scrambling for additional space at Tegel in order to keep those extra flights operating, since they have sold thousands of tickets on them already. Lufthansa reportedly will add five more aircraft to its Berlin Tegel operation to handle the extra passengers.
Both airlines are expected to demand substantial compensation from the airport authority for the extra costs they will incur due to the delayed opening.
Meanwhile, construction has started at Munich Airport on a satellite building for Terminal 2, the base for Lufthansa’s hub operation there. The airline said that 26.5 million passengers used Terminal 2 last year, although it was designed for a capacity of 25 million.
The new 125,000 square meter building “will create space for an additional 52 gates and 27 aircraft stands,” Lufthansa said. It will also have two Lufthansa service centers, 42 passport control desks and 24 security lines. Some 9,000 square meters will be devoted to a central marketplace of shops and restaurants. The facility is expected to open in 2015, Lufthansa said.