24th Mar 2018

Berlin's new airport delayed again

  • Tegel: the launch of the new airport has been delayed four times (Photo: andynash)

Not everything runs smoothly in Germany. The opening of Berlin's new airport (BER) - which should replace the two smaller and antiquated ones in Tegel and Schoenefeld - on Monday (7 January) was postponed again, this time indefinitely.

Initially planned to open in 2011, the Willy Brandt airport was already delayed due to construction flaws and scheduled to open on 27 October this year.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"This further delay is the result of problems with the fire protection system, in particular the fresh air supply in the case of a fire and the complexity of the system as a whole," the airport management explained on its website, adding it was "too early" to set another deadline.

Cooling pipes totalling a length of some 60km were not insulated properly. Others already built in walls which now have to broken up and re-built, airport sources told Tagesspiegel.

The giant project is now estimated to cost over €4 billion, double the initial estimate, and narrowly avoided bankruptcy in December when the European Commission approved a further German government cash injection under EU state aid rules.

Adding to the financial woes are potential fines, as Air Berlin, the country's second-largest carrier, in November decided to sue the airport for damages. Air Berlin currently flies from Tegel, where capacity is limited, and had hoped to boost its activity by 230 flights a week once the airport opens.

Both Air Berlin and Lufthansa, Germany's main carrier, are now asking for more investments in the infrastructure at Tegel airport, given that it will have to cope with the air traffic for longer than this year, when it was supposed to close down.

Mainly treated as a regional story, the airport flop may, however, dent the popularity of the opposition Social Democrats ahead of general elections in the fall. The mayor of Berlin, Social Democrat Klaus Wowereit, is now under pressure to resign.

Wowereit on Monday stepped down from the chairmanship of the airport's supervisory board, but said he would not give up his main mandate as a mayor. Another Social Democrat, Matthias Platzeck who is the governor of the Brandenburg region, has now taken over the airport responsibility, linking his political fate to it.

The conservative-liberal government has steered clear of putting the blame on its political rivals and is asking for the head of the main project manager, Rainer Schwarz.

The leading architects of the airport were fired in May and sued for €80 million damages. They claim the fiasco is not their fault as politicians have ordered some 500 changes to the initial plan, ZDF reports.


German airports strike back at EU criticism

Germany's main airports have rejected criticism from EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas over their lack of preparedness to handle snow, as the travel chaos continues throughout Europe. In Britain, authorities are looking at fining airports, while the London Heathrow chief has given up his bonus amid passenger anger.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

Trump keeps EU leaders waiting on tariffs

European leaders postponed their reaction to US announcement that the EU would be exempted from tariffs on steel and aluminium. "The devil is often in the details", said the Belgian PM.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Nordic states discuss targeted Russia sanctions
  2. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  3. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  4. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  5. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  6. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  7. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  8. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica