After 14 years of construction: the BER breakdown airport takes off
The 230,000 point list of defects has been processed. 9,000 extras have tested the new capital city airport. All permits for the BER are available. A tour of the almost finished airport in the south of Berlin.
It was in December 2017: Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, the then new airport manager, announced that the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Will be launched at the end of October 2020. “We kept our promise,” he said at a meeting of the Aviation Press Club. The list of errors in the building was “endlessly long”. The TÜV was in the house for more than three years, a “Sisyphus job” for everyone involved, which Hartmut Mehdorn already failed. “We have brought the BER from 230,000 to zero defects”, is the conclusion of Lütke Daldrup, who has been in office since March 2017.
In the last few months, all possible standard processes were run through with extras during the trial days. “We wanted something to go wrong too,” said Lütke Daldrup. Such “special events” are travelers with a lost boarding pass, missing suitcases or lost children. One has learned from the mistakes. Among other things, the signpost system has been revised.
The first impression in the terminal
The opposite of Enge Tegel: a spacious and bright giant pavilion with lots of glass, wood and natural stone floors. Both airports are designs by the same architectural office, von Gerkan, Marg and Partners from Hamburg. Decades later, your new airport building is strongly reminiscent of an icon of classical modernism: the New National Gallery in Berlin, the work of the architect Mies von der Rohe.
The ingenious guidance system with backlit signposts and light text on a wine-red background fits perfectly into the clear, geometric building forms. Compared to previous visits, the aisles in the piers are no longer blocked by scaffolding, and the furniture that has been in the waiting areas for years has long since been freed from plastic sheeting and dust.
Only in the future shops and bars is it really busy. Here shelves are raised, taps are connected. The short course through the duty-free zone does not resemble the consumption-driven gauntlet, as it has long been common at other airports. You can tell that BER’s plans were many years ago. 90 service facilities should be ready by the end of the month, whereby there will be a mix of brands in the restaurant businesses – one third each regional, German and international.
S-Bahn every ten minutes
Two thirds of the passengers will travel to and from BER with regional trains, a few ICs and the S-Bahn via the platforms in the basement. The elevator takes you straight to check-in. This short and convenient route for the passenger or the person collecting them also had its reason for the long delays. Because building an airport terminal above an underground train station requires the coordination of two very different building rights, as Lütke Daldrup reports with frown lines.
Unlike in Tegel, the distances are longer, depending on the gate, they are between 200 and 600 meters. Flight operations officially begin on October 31. Around 2 p.m., a Lufthansa and Easyjet aircraft will land on the two parallel runways. One day later, at 6 a.m., the first line machines roll to the start. The take-off of the first intercontinental flight on the southern runway, a jet from Qatar Airways to Doha, is then considered to be the “opening under planning law”.
BER cost around 6 billion euros, three times as much as planned – mainly with taxpayers’ money. The airport will now open on October 31, World Savings Day.
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