Berlin Brandenburg Airport
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg
|IATA: BER – ICAO: EDDB|
|Operator||Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH|
|Elevation AMSL||157 ft / 48 m|
Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport (IATA: BER, ICAO: EDDB) (German: Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt) is an international airport under construction, located in Schönefeld 18 km (11 mi) south of the city centre of Berlin, Germany. It is intended to replace Tegel Airport and Schönefeld Airport, and to become the single commercial airport serving Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, an area with a combined 6 million inhabitants. It is named after Willy Brandt.
Originally planned to be opened in 2010, Berlin Brandenburg Airport has encountered a series of delays due to poor construction planning, management and execution. As of March 2013, it is not known when the airport will be inaugurated, though any dates prior to 2014 have been discarded.  Due to these problems, the initially stated construction budget will be greatly exceeded.
Air Berlin and Lufthansa (including its Germanwings subsidiary) are expected to become the leading carriers at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, both having announced the intent to set up a hub operation there. EasyJet is thought to become the third largest tenant. With a projected annual passenger number of around 27 million, Berlin Brandenburg would become the third busiest airport in Germany and one of the fifteen busiest in Europe.
Aviation in Schönefeld 
Berlin Brandenburg Airport is located just south of Berlin Schönefeld Airport, which was opened as an airfield to accommodate the local Henschel aircraft plant on 15 October 1934. During the Battle of Berlin, on 22 April 1945, the airfield was occupied by Soviet troops. In 1946, the headquarters of the Soviet Air Forces was moved to Schönefeld from Johannisthal Air Field, and commercial flights (initially by Aeroflot) were launched.
Over the following years, Schönefeld Airport became the most important civilian airport in the newly founded German Democratic Republic (East Germany), with national flag carrier Interflug being based there. In 1976, a modern passenger terminal (today known as Terminal A) was opened.
Plans for a new Berlin Airport 
Following the German reunification in 1990 and Berlin once again becoming the German federal capital, plans were made to recognize the increased importance of the city with the construction of a large commercial airport, as Tegel Airport, Schönefeld Airport and Tempelhof Airport were aging and becoming increasingly congested due to rising passenger numbers. In order to ensure the economical viability of the project, the single airport concept was pursued, which meant that the new airport would become the sole commercial airport for Berlin and Brandenburg. As a consequence, it was decided to have Tegel, Schönefeld and Tempelhof closed upon opening of the new airport, and to ban commercial aviation from any other airport in Brandenburg.
On 2 May 1991, the Berlin Brandenburg Flughafen Holding GmbH (BBF) was founded, owned by the states of Berlin and Brandenburg (37 percent each) and the Federal Republic of Germany (the remaining 26 percent). Eberhard Diepgen, then Mayor of Berlin, became the first chairman of the supervisory board, and on 20 June 1993 it was announced that the area south of Schönefeld Airport (where the BER was eventually realized), Sperenberg Airfield and Jüterbog Airfield were considered possible sites for the new airport, each of which found its advocates in the ensuing political discussion. Concerning land-use planning and noise issues, rural Sperenberg and Jüterbog were considered to be more suitable for the construction of a large airport. From an economical point of view, an airport located near the city center with existing road and rail links (as it is the case with Schönefeld) was favored.
On 28 May 1996, Eberhard Diepgen, Manfred Stolpe (then Minister-President of Brandenburg) and Matthias Wissmann (then Federal Minister for Transport) committed themselves to Schönefeld as the site for the new airport. This so-called consensus decision was later affirmed by the respective state legislatures.
Failed privatization 
Originally, it was planned to have the new airport being owned and operated by a private investor. A call for proposals was initiated, from which two bidding consortia emerged as serious contenders: One was led by Hochtief (through its Hochtief Airport subsidiary) and included ABB, Fraport and Bankengesellschaft Berlin as partners, the other one comprised IVG, Flughafen Wien AG, Dorsch-Consult, Commerzbank and Caisse des Dépôts. On 19 September 1998, it was announced that the Hochtief consortium had been granted the exclusive authority to negotiate the terms and conditions for an acquisition of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport holding and the construction and subsequent operation of the new airport for a 50 years period.
On 31 March 1999, Hochtief and its partners were officially assigned with the construction of the new airport, a decision against which IVG subsequently filed a lawsuit. The Brandenburg Oberlandesgericht indeed acknowledged the concerns voiced by IVG. In its review, it found that in certain points, the assessment of the applications had been biased towards Hochtief, which led to the contract award being annulated on 3 August of that year.
In a new attempt to be contracted for the construction and operation allowance of the new airport, Hochtief Airport and IVG teamed up and brought forth a plan for a joint bid on 10 November 2000. At that time, it was hoped that the planning approval could be granted in 2002, with 2007 being named for the tentative opening.
When the Hochtief/IVG bid was officially submitted in February 2002, the BBF associates (by then, Eberhard Diepgen had been replaced by Klaus Wowereit as Mayor of Berlin and chair of the supervisory board, and Matthias Platzeck had been elected Minister-President of Brandenburg; Manfred Stolpe was still concerned with the airport, as he had become Federal Minister of Transportation) determined that it would not meet the demands, and on 22 May 2003, it was decided to scrap the privatization plan altogether. Hochtief and IVG were paid ca €50 million compensation for the planning effort.
Public ownership and construction permit 
Henceforth, the new Berlin airport would be planned, owned and operated by the BBF Holding (which was renamed Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB) shortly afterwards), which in turn is owned by Berlin, Brandenburg (37 percent each) and Germany (26 percent). On 13 August 2004, the planning approval for the development of Schönefeld Airport into new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport was granted by the Brandenburg state ministry for infrastructure and regional policy.
A legal battle ensued, as lawsuits against this decision were filed by local residents. It was terminated on 16 March 2006, when the Federal Administrative Court of Germany (the highest legislature on that matter) rejected the objections, though stipulation were imposed on the flight operations at the new airport. Thus, the construction permit was granted only under the condition that once operational, the number of people living in the approach path would be lower, compared to the situation with three airports (Tegel, Schönefeld, Tempelhof). Therefore, it is a mandatory prerequisite for Tegel and Schönefeld to be closed down (Tempelhof was already decommissioned in 2008) once Berlin's air traffic is concentrated at the new airport.
By 2006, the construction cost was budgeted at €2.83 billion, which was supplied by a credit raising of €2.4 billion, a bank deposit of €430 million by the FBB partners, and an additional €440 million of equity capital provided by FBB.
During the construction phase, it became clear that the airport would become significantly more expensive. This is mostly due to an underestimating of the actual costs in a too-optimistic calculation; construction flaws; and increased expenses for soundproof insulations of private homes located near the airport. The series of delays to the opening date is expected to lead to a number of lawsuits against FBB, which might result in large-scale damage compensations for the affected airlines (Air Berlin already announced its intention of such a move) and airport businesses.
As of late 2012, the expenditures for Berlin Brandenburg Airport had accumulated to a total of €4.3 billion, nearly twice the originally anticipated figure.
During most of its planning and construction phase, the new airport was known as Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, abbreviated BBI. When the planned opening date of 2 June 2012 (which did not materialize) drew nearer, a marketing campaign was launched, introducing the BER branding, reflecting the new airport code.
In 2007, it was decided that Berlin Brandenburg Airport would be given a second name, honoring a person with a distinctive link to the city of Berlin. On 11 December 2009, the decision was made in favor of Willy Brandt. The Nobel Peace laureate of 1971 served as mayor of West Berlin from 1957 to 1966 and as West German chancellor from 1969 to 1974. The leading politicians responsible for this choice, Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and Minister-President of Brandenburg Matthias Platzeck, are both members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), which was led by Brandt from 1964 to 1987.
Other persons proposed to be honored by naming the airport accordingly included Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Albert Einstein and Marlene Dietrich (by members of the Christian Democratic Union), Gustav Stresemann (by the Free Democratic Party), and Otto Lilienthal (advocated by the Green Party).
Construction progress 
To make way for the new airport, two villages had to be removed. The 335 inhabitants of Diepensee received compensations and were offered new homes in Königs Wusterhausen, a move that was completed by late 2004. The 35 villagers of Selchow were resettled to Großziethen in mid-2005.
In November 2007, the BER-Infotower was opened, a 32 metres high public observation tower and information center. The transparent and twisted structure, originally intended to be temporary, will instead remain once work is completed.
Construction of the terminal building began in July 2008. On 8 and 9 May 2010, the topping out was celebrated with open days of the airport site. Since 30 October 2011, the railway line and terminal station have been ready for service, though until the opening no scheduled trains will operate to the airport.
On 24 November 2011, operating tests and service trials commenced (at that time, it was assumed that BER would be opened on 3 June 2012). A total of 12,000 volunteers participated in the simulation of check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage claim. 15,000 pieces of luggage were used for tests of the automated baggage processing system. Also, nighttime operations and emergency scenarios were covered. This phase also saw the acceptance tests of various airport systems. On 8 May 2012, it became clear that the opening date would not be met due to failures of the fire protection system. All trials were halted and have not been resumed since.
Delayed opening and construction flaws 
When construction of the terminal building began in 2006, 30 October 2011 was announced as inauguration day for the new airport. On 14 June 2010, a few days after the topping out had been celebrated, it was announced that construction deadlines could not be met, and the opening was postponed to 3 June 2012. This was blamed to the bankruptcy of pg bbi, the construction planning company. As the new date drew nearer, airlines amended their timetables to reflect their plans to operate from BER, and airport shops and restaurants prepared for the opening. As the airports in Tegel and Schönefeld were to be closed once the last flights on 2 June had been serviced, a major logistics operation for moving the airports' infrastructure was launched. Vehicles, equipment and supplies that were needed at Tegel until the final moments would have been transported to BER during the night of 2–3 June. To cater for this, the highways linking the two airports (A113, A100 and parts of A111) were planned to be closed for public use. Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg, the national broadcaster for Berlin and Brandenburg, scheduled 24 hours of continuous live coverage of the airport move. A special Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt Airport, operated with an Airbus A380, would have been the first one to depart the new airport at 06:00 on June 3.
On 8 May 2012, only 26 days in advance, the opening date was postponed, and the airport move had to be aborted or in certain cases reverted. Technical difficulties primarily concerning the fire safety and smoke exhaust systems, were cited as reasons for the delay. Manfred Körtgen, the director for technical affairs, was consequently dismissed and replaced by Horst Amann, and 17 March 2013 was given as new date for BER to open, which was soon met by doubts due to the large number of construction flaws and problems that were surfacing.
In early September 2012, the opening date was indeed further postponed, this time to 27 October 2013. Again, media and experts were constantly voicing doubts and concerns about this deadline, most notably Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister for Construction and Infrastructure.
On 6 January 2013, it was declared that BER would be even further delayed, at least until 2014 (though no definite date has been announced). As a consequence, Klaus Wowereit resigned as chairman of the supervisory board, and was replaced by Matthias Platzeck, who previously had served as his deputy. Rainer Schwarz, the CEO of FBB, was dismissed on 16 January. On 8 March 2013, it was announced he would be succeeded by Hartmut Mehdorn, who previously had served as CEO of Deutsche Bahn (1999-2011) and Air Berlin (2011-2013).
Construction failures 
The major issue responsible for the delayed opening is the fact that the fire protection and alarm system in the terminal building has not been built according to the construction permit. Therefore, it failed the mandatory acceptance test (a prerequisite for the airport to be opened), and a proposed solution with human fire watches (up to 700 people would have been employed for this job) was rejected by the building supervision department of the local Dahme-Spreewald district. There are flaws concerning the wiring, programming and implementing of the highly complex system designed by Siemens and Bosch, by which sprinklers, smoke extractors and fire doors will be controlled fully automatically. Because of aesthetic reasons, it was decided that the BER terminal building would not have any smoke extraction pipes on its rooftop. Therefore, in case of fire, smoke would be pumped into exhaust pipes that run below the building (thus, the natural behavior of hot air to rise up needs to be reversed), a set-up that at this scale is considered to be unique. So far, this elaborate smoke extraction system does not work as anticipated. To meet the requirements for the fire system to pass the acceptance test, large scale reconstruction work might be needed.
The insolvency of the pg bbi general planning office and the dismissal of the gmp architecture bureau (which were partially blamed for the problems) had a widespread impact on the management of construction. There are examples of failed construction work due to a lack of proper supervision and documentation, most notably concerning the wiring. Reports have surfaced about cable channels in which either too many cables have been installed or in inapplicable combinations (for example phone lines laid next to high voltage cables). A total of 60 km (37 mi) of cooling pipes were allegedly installed without any thermal insulation. To correct this, the demolition of numerous walls might become necessary. Furthermore, ventilation vents seem to have been placed in inappropriate positions, so that rain water from the western façade runs into them.
Airport overview 
Berlin Brandenburg Airport will have two parallel runways. With a spacing of 1,900 m (6,200 ft), these will allow independent flight operations without mutual interference from wake turbulence.
The northern runway of BER is the southern runway of the old Schönefeld Airport, and has been in use since the 1960s. To cater for the new airport, it has been renovated and lengthened from 3,000 m (9,800 ft) to 3,600 m (11,800 ft). The newly-built southern runway has a length of 4,000 m (13,000 ft) and was officially commissioned on 31 May 2012. Until the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, it is closed per NOTAM.
Air traffic control 
The Deutsche Flugsicherung is responsible for air traffic control and apron control at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. At 72 metres, the control tower is the third highest in Germany (only surpassed by Munich Airport and Düsseldorf Airport). On 25 March 2012, the new tower was opened, having replaced the old Schönefeld tower.
Passenger terminal 
The U-shaped terminal building of Berlin Brandenburg Airport has been designed by the gmp architectural company, which had already been responsible for the hexagonal Terminal A at Tegel Airport, which was opened in 1974. At BER, the terminal is situated between the two runways, creating a so-called midfield airport on top of the underground train station. There are four publicly accessible storeys (Levels 0, 1, 2 and 3).
The check-in area is located in the public area of the terminal, at Level 1. There are 118 counters, which are organised in eight clusters (so called check-in islands). It is anticipated that a significant amount of the passengers will use self check-in machines, of which more than 100 are planned to be installed.
The airside area can only be accessed by passengers with a valid ticket who have passed a security screening. Securitas Germany will be responsible for the 35 screening stations. BER is equipped with 25 jet bridges, plus another 85 aircraft stands on the apron. The boarding and arrival areas are divided into three piers. The main pier is 715 m (2,346 ft) long, while the two piers to the north and south are 350 m (1,150 ft) each. The main pier is equipped with 16 jet-bridges; all but one are two-storeyed, therefore allowing for the separation of arriving and departing passengers. Level 1 is intended for Schengen passengers (gates A01–A20, B01–B20), while Level 2 (gates C01–C19, D01–D17) is for non-Schengen passengers. Eight of the gates can accommodate wide-body aircraft. One gate has been designed to accommodate the Airbus A380, the largest commercial airliner. There is sufficient apron space, and a dual jetway could be installed, necessary for a quick boarding and disembarking process. A mezzanine (Level Z) at gates A21-22 and B21 allows for additional pre-boarding security checks for high-risk flights (that is, departures to the United States and Israel). Air Berlin, Lufthansa and Air France/KLM will operate airport lounges at the main pier, which will also be open for passengers of the respective alliance partners.
The southern pier is reserved for near-exclusive use for Air Berlin and its oneworld partners. There are nine single-storey jet bridges (gates A30–A38). The northern pier features a more minimalistic design compared to the other two piers, meeting the demands of low-cost carriers. There are no jet-bridges, but walk-boarding-gates (B30-45) with direct apron access.
Cargo and general aviation 
The initial module of the midfield cargo facilities has a capacity of 60,000 tonnes (59,000 long tons; 66,000 short tons) of cargo per year. With the completion of all planned expansions, this could handle up to 600,000 tonnes (590,000 long tons; 660,000 short tons) per year. The general aviation terminal is located in the northern part of BER.
Aircraft maintenance 
Government use 
The air transport wing of the German Defence Ministry (Flugbereitschaft), which is responsible for government flights, will move to Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Currently, it is based at Cologne Bonn Airport and operates a fleet of Bombardier Global Express, Airbus A319, Airbus A310 and Airbus A340-300 VIP configured aircraft. Plans have been made for the construction of a representative governmental terminal, also intended for the welcoming of foreign politicians during state visits. The glass-and-wood building is expected to be completed by 2016. The old Terminal A at Schönefeld Airport is intended to be used as a temporary solution.
The terminal is connected to a 3.1 km (1.9 mi) long railway tunnel running from east to west underneath the apron and the terminal complex. As the nine tunnel sections were the first structures to be built, they could be constructed in the form of conventional excavations.
A railway station with six tracks forms the lowest level of the terminal. Two tracks serve as a terminus for the S-Bahn – with the S9 serving the northern and the S45 serving the southern public transit ring, while the other four tracks handle EuroCity, InterCity, Intercity-Express and Regional-Express trains. It was confirmed in August 2011 that multiple daily Intercity-Express and InterCity trains will connect the airport to Bielefeld, Hannover, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Halle, Wolfsburg, as well as EuroCity trains connecting to Wroclaw and Krakow in Poland, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Prague in the Czech Republic.
About half of the passengers are expected to access BER by rail. An express line (Regionalbahn) will connect the airport with the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin central station) in 30 minutes. Two more stops, Potsdamer Platz and Berlin Südkreuz, will be part of the Airport Express, which is planned to make the distance in just under 20 minutes by 2015, when a new train track will be inaugurated. Over 10% of passengers are expected to come from Poland, also thanks to upgraded highways on the Polish side of the border, making the airport a possible choice for air travellers from the west of that country.
Public transport connections at the new airport will include numerous bus services. The express buses X7 and X11 will connect BER and U-Bahn Rudow, the underground line U7, every five minutes. The X11 bus continues to Lichterfelde-West and on to Dahlem. Other bus lines also stop off at a number of stations, providing connections with Berlin’s public transport network and destinations in Brandenburg.
The Berlin Brandenburg Airport is connected by its own exit to the freeway A113, which carries traffic into Berlin to the city freeway A100 and out to the outer city freeway ring A10 where it continues south as the freeway A13 in the direction of Dresden. The highway 96a along the north side of the airport is being expanded to four lanes towards Potsdam.
Four car parks and a car rental centre will be installed by the time BER opens. Around 10,000 parking spaces will be available in four multi-storey car parks.
Projected passenger volume and expansion plans 
Since the German reunification, air traffic in Berlin is characterized by large growth rates. In 1991, the combined passenger volume of the city's airports was at 7.9 million per year. By 2012, this number had risen to 25.3 million. Once Berlin Brandenburg opens, it will have a capacity of 27 million passengers per year. It may be extended by up to two satellite concourses, thus bringing the capacity to 45 million (concerning the terminal space) or 50 million (operational limit of the two runways) passengers per year. The two satellites (which would be located on the apron parallel to the main pier and linked by a tunnel) are included in the construction permit of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which means that they could be built at any time without further regulatory hurdles, and that there is no possibility of third-party objections against them. A possible third runway could be located in the south, though so far no further plans have been made.
Operating hours 
Expected airlines and destinations 
Air Berlin will move its most important hub from Tegel to Brandenburg. As a member of the oneworld global airline alliance, Air Berlin is in need of an airport serving the demands of connecting passengers, which at Tegel is only possible to a limited extent.
With the expected initial opening of BER on 3 June 2012, Lufthansa greatly expanded its presence in Berlin (for the time being located at Tegel Airport), opening a multitude of additional intra-European destinations. Over the coming years, Lufthansa plans to have all European flights that do not originate or terminate at either Frankfurt Airport or Munich Airport operated by its Germanwings subsidiary, which therefore will likely become one of the largest tenants at Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
EasyJet is expected[by whom?] to become the leading low-cost carrier at BER, relocating its current Schönefeld base. Provided that their respective plans concerning Berlin services do not change, Germania and Condor would each have an aircraft base at the new airport.
Projected traffic data 
Combined total passengers at Berlin Tegel and Berlin Schönefeld Airports in 2010
|Germany, Cologne/Bonn||Cologne Bonn||
|United Kingdom, London||Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend, Stansted||
|France, Paris||Charles de Gaulle, Orly||
|Spain, Palma de Mallorca||Palma de Mallorca||
|Russia, Moscow||Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo||
|Turkey, Istanbul||Atatürk, Sabiha Gökçen||
Commercial and exposition area 
Berlin Air Show (ILA) 
On 3 July 2012, the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport was inaugurated on the southeastern portion of the airport grounds. The 250,000 square metres exposition area belongs to Messe Berlin and is primarily intended as the site of the biennial Berlin Air Show.
Airport Information Center 
Coinciding with groundbreaking for construction of the new airport, an information and public relations center called airportworld was opened near the old Schönefeld Airport. On 14 November 2007, the Infotower, a 32 metres tall public viewing tower containing an exhibition about the new airport, was opened on the BER construction site.
Business park 
The area surrounding BER is zoned as a commercial district. Plans call for the construction of shopping centers and parking structures as well as industrial, commercial and office spaces. Situated directly at the terminal complex will be the BER Airport City with an area of 16 ha (40 acres). Marketing of the real estate began in autumn 2006 and beginning in 2009 offices, hotels, car rentals, four parking decks with a capacity of 10,000, restaurants and retailers were built here.
To the north is the BER Business Park Berlin with a planned area of 109 ha (270 acres) for industrial and commercial use as well as congress centers. A further Business Park North was proposed as a future use of the area of the old Schönefeld terminal. However, so far there are no definite plans for the future use of this area.
In September 2010, the Deutsche Flugsicherung published aircraft arrival and departure paths for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which significantly differ from earlier ones used in the court decision for the construction permit . In the original maps, aircraft were considered to take off and land with a heading in line with the runway. The new plans saw flight paths that deviate from the runway direction by 15 degrees. Therefore, aircraft would now fly over areas in southern Berlin (Lichtenrade, Steglitz and Zehlendorf) and adjacent Brandenburg (Teltow, Stahnsdorf, Kleinmachnow and Potsdam) to the surprise of local residents, which prompted a wave of protests. A lawsuit was rejected by the Federal Administrative Court of Germany on 31 July 2012.
Both the expansion of Schönefeld Airport into BER and the quality of the connection to the railway network are the subject of public debate. The Bürgerverein Brandenburg-Berlin e.V. represents local residents who protest against an expansion of air traffic to and from the south of Berlin. Also, experts for traffic and environmental issues criticise the late completion dates for the fast connection to the central station. Still, Berlin Hauptbahnhof will be connected within 30 minutes with trains departing every 15 minutes upon inauguration. By 2020 at the earliest, this will be reduced to 20 minutes thanks to the reconstruction of the Dresdner bahn.
Due to the rising passenger numbers of the Berlin airports and the delays of BER, concerns were voiced that the new airport might be too small, especially concerning the check-in space. Also, there are doubts about its economic viability once opened.
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