Berlin Brandenburg Airport
|Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg
|IATA: BER – ICAO: EDDB|
|Operator||Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH|
|Elevation AMSL||157 ft / 48 m|
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (IATA: BER, ICAO: EDDB) (German: Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt) is an international airport under construction, located adjacent to the current Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Schönefeld 18 kilometres (11 mi) south of the city centre of Berlin, the capital of Germany. It was originally intended to replace both Schönefeld and Berlin Tegel Airport, and to become the single commercial airport serving Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, an area with a combined 6 million inhabitants. However it is now known it will only replace Tegel, as the old Schönefeld airport is in current expansion because it will still be required to cope with rising passenger numbers.
With a projected annual passenger number of around 34 million, Berlin Brandenburg Airport would become the third busiest airport in Germany, surpassing Düsseldorf Airport, and one of the fifteen busiest in Europe. Air Berlin, Germanwings and easyJet are expected to become the leading carriers at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, having announced the intent to relocate and keep their hub / base operations there which they currently maintain at Tegel and Schönefeld airports today.
After almost 15 years of planning, construction began in 2006. Originally planned to open in 2010, the airport has encountered a series of delays due to poor construction planning, management, execution and corruption. Unfinished construction and corrective work means an opening prior to late 2017 is unlikely. Remarks made in August 2014, by airport CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, point toward 2017 or 2018. Mehdorn announced no opening date as expected 14 October 2014, so a special commission established by the Brandenburg Parliament will retain oversight of the project. Ryanair marketing head Kenny Jacobs announced a date of March 2018. Current estimates suggest that the airport will open in 2018 or 2019, at the latest. Recent reports mentioned the 3rd quarter of 2019. It became clear at the end of May 2016 that the airport lost the battle for a swift approval of the underground station redesign efforts. Thus the recently placated emergency timetable with the aim of still opening in 2017 is invalid, and opening in 2018 or later is the only possibility. In detail the airport was not able to perform with the fifth appendix for the construction permission. It got declined. The sixth appendix failed as well. Thus there is no construction permission as of aug 16 and delays are implicit (later than 2018). The fifth got permitted as of 6-oct-16. Traffic commission chairman Burkert declared in oct 16 that an opening in 2017 is impossible 
Current total costs amount to €5.4 billion. Additional plans suggest additional costs amounting to an extra €2.19 billion. As of 3 June 2015, Germany applied for an additional €2.5 billion spending approval at the EU, in addition to the previous total of €4.3 billion. Total costs thus mount to €6.8 billion. The EU will only permit an additional €2.2 billion. The EU permitted an additional 2.2 bio on 3 aug 16. Although the airport has yet to open, officials are planning a possible third runway for approximately €1 billion and other new projects such as an additional terminal, expanded baggage system and another freight facility. The total additional spending would amount to €3.2 billion. The board warned of a further rise in costs because the airport will not open before 2017. The current time-cost frame is limited to 2016; the estimated cost of €6.9 billion is current as of May 2016.
- 1 History
- 2 Construction progress
- 3 Airport overview
- 4 Expected airlines and destinations
- 5 Access
- 6 Commercial and exposition area
- 7 Controversies
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Aviation in Schönefeld
Berlin Brandenburg Airport is located just south of Berlin Schönefeld Airport, which opened as an airfield to accommodate the local Henschel aircraft plant on 15 October 1934. During the Battle of Berlin, on 22 April 1945, Soviet troops occupied the airfield. In 1946, the headquarters of the Soviet Air Forces moved to Schönefeld from Johannisthal Air Field, and commercial flights (initially by Aeroflot) began.
During 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 based there. In 1976, the modern passenger terminal currently known as Terminal A opened.
Plans for a new Berlin Airport
Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the German federal capital and leaders made plans to recognise the city's increased importance by constructing a large commercial airport, as Tegel Airport, Schönefeld Airport and Tempelhof Airport were aging and becoming increasingly congested due to rising passenger numbers. To ensure the economical viability of the project, they pursued the single airport concept, which meant that the new airport would become the sole commercial airport for Berlin and Brandenburg. As a consequence, they planned to close Tegel, Schönefeld and Tempelhof upon opening 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, Mayor of Berlin, became the first chairman of the supervisory board. The holding company announced on 20 June 1993 that Sperenberg Airfield, Jüterbog Airfield and the area south of Schönefeld Airport — the final choice, were considered possible sites for the new airport, with each site advocated by various factions in the ensuing political discussion. Concerning land-use planning and noise issues, rural Sperenberg and Jüterbog were considered more suitable for construction of a large airport. Economics favored an airport located near the city center with existing road and rail links (as it is the case with Schönefeld).
On 28 May 1996, Mayor Diepgen, Minister-President of Brandenburg Manfred Stolpe and Federal Minister for Transport Matthias Wissmann committed to Schönefeld as the site for the new airport. This so-called consensus decision was later affirmed by the respective state legislatures. The new airport will even use some infrastructure, such as a runway, from the current Schönefeld Airport.
Originally, BBF hoped the new airport would be owned and operated by a private investor. They called for proposals, which led to two bidding consortia emerging as serious contenders. One was led by Hochtief, through its Hochtief Airport subsidiary, and included ABB, Fraport and Bankengesellschaft Berlin as partners. The other was comprised IVG, Flughafen Wien AG, Dorsch-Consult, Commerzbank and Caisse des Dépôts. On 19 September 1998, BBF 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 50 year.
On 31 March 1999, BBF officially commissioned Hochtief and its partners to construct the new airport, causing IVG to file 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 annulment of the contract award on 3 August of that year.
In a new attempt to receive the contract to construct and operate the new airport, Hochtief Airport and IVG teamed up and created a plan for a joint bid on 10 November 2000. At the time, BBF hoped that the planning approval could be completed in 2002, with the tentative opening in 2007.
When Hochtief/IVG submitted its bid in February 2002, the BBF board consisted of Manfred Stolpe, now Federal Minister of Transportation; Klaus Wowereit, who replaced Eberhard Diepgen as Mayor of Berlin and chair of the board; and Matthias Platzeck, who replaced Stolpe as Minister-President of Brandenburg. The board determined that the proposal would not be practical and voted 22 May 2003 to scrap the privatization plan. Hochtief and IVG received approximately €50 million compensation for their planning effort.
Public ownership and construction permit
The new Berlin airport would be planned, owned and operated by BBF Holding, which became Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB) shortly afterwards, and remained under the ownership of Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government. On 13 August 2004, the Brandenburg state ministry for infrastructure and regional policy granted approval for the development of Schönefeld Airport into new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.
A legal battle ensued, as local residents filed lawsuits against the ministry's decision. It terminated 16 March 2006, when the Federal Administrative Court of Germany rejected the residents' arguments, but imposed stipulations 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 surrounding the three existing airports — Tegel, Schönefeld, Tempelhof. Therefore, it was mandatory for Tegel and Schönefeld to close (Tempelhof was already decommissioned in 2008) once Berlin's air traffic is concentrated at the new airport.
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By 2006, the construction cost was budgeted at €2.83 billion, which FBB achieved 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 construction, it became clear that the airport would become significantly more expensive due to underestimating the actual costs in an over-optimistic calculation; construction flaws; and increased expenses for soundproofing nearby homes. The series of delays in opening is expected to lead to a number of lawsuits against FBB, which may result in large-scale damage compensation for the affected airlines and airport businesses. Air Berlin already announced its intention of such a move.
By late 2012, expenditures for Berlin Brandenburg Airport totalled €4.3 billion, nearly twice the originally anticipated figure.
It became clear in November 2015 that the financial concept of the airport will remain fundamentally flawed. The main purpose of the many stores planned at the airport was to serve passengers who were changing planes, assuming that Berlin would be a big international hub. It was acknowledged in 2015, however, for the first time that competition between the hubs was already too stiff and that Frankfurt and Heathrow would resist losing passenger shares without a price war and that few if any airlines would leave their hubs for Berlin. Thus the only remaining potential airline for operating a hub was Air Berlin, which was in financial difficulties and did not plan to provide long distance service anytime soon. So big throughput/profit through store rent etc. will remain elusive. 
In November 2015 Brandenburg's Comptroller Rechnungshof came to the conclusion that financial control executed by Berlin and Brandenburg and Germany over the airport as owners was insufficient and inefficient.
The publishing in February 2016 of a 400-page report describing the flawed planning by Brandenburg's comptroller Rechnunghof, including counting several construction lapses, led the BER boss to retaliate publicly against the comptroller on 27 February. He decried the publishing of the numbers.
Soundproofing nearby homes will become €50 million more expensive due to a verdict of the main administrative court of the states Berlin and Brandenburg. As of 5 May 2016 the court decided in favor of 25,500 plaintiffs. See also: Federal Administrative Court of Germany. The hook line of the verdict is somewhat that it is insufficient just to build in fans (into holes to be hammered into the house walls) and suck in air from the outside while planes fly and you cannot open windows for the noise. It has to be determined as well how the intake air might be deducted from the inside as well id est for example through exit pipes.
The airport avoided liability claims against Imtech and other firms involved in the construction of the infamous fire exhaustion system.
Financing for the entire airport seems to go towards bankruptcy as of June 2016. The reasons involve that the EU will not stack up to €6.9 billion if permitting to add €2.5 billion. The additional €2.5 billion do not have an EU approval yet as of June 2016. The airport will be bankrupt by August 2016. The EU permitted an additional 2.2 bio on 3 aug 16.
During much of the planning and construction phase, the new airport was known as Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, abbreviated BBI, until it was discovered that the IATA code BBI already referred to Biju Patnaik International Airport, also known as Bhubaneswar Airport, in India. When the planned and missed opening date of 2 June 2012 drew nearer, the FBB launched a marketing campaign introducing the BER branding, reflecting the new airport code.
In 2007, the FBB board 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. Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and Minister-President of Brandenburg Matthias Platzeck, both members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) which Brandt led from 1964 to 1987, led the effort to add Brandt's name to the airport.
Other suggested honorees included Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg; Albert Einstein and Marlene Dietrich, from members of the Christian Democratic Union; Gustav Stresemann, by the Free Democratic Party; and Otto Lilienthal, advocated by the Green Party.
As a result of the ongoing problems affecting the airport to this day and the continuous negative publicity it gets in the German press, the Willy Brandt Foundation considered revoking the airport's permission to bear the former chancellor's name, as such an ongoing association might be considered disrespectful towards his legacy. However, no such measure has been taken so far.
To make way for the new airport, two villages were removed. The 335 inhabitants of Diepensee received compensation 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.:16
After nearly 15 years of planning, actual construction work for Berlin Brandenburg Airport began on 5 September 2006.
In November 2007, the BER-Infotower opened a 32 metres (105 ft) high public observation tower and information center, part of the airport's visitor facilities. The transparent and twisted structure was originally intended to be temporary, but a decision to retain it was made during construction.
Construction of the terminal building began in July 2008. On 8 and 9 May 2010, the airport celebrated its topping out with open days at the airport site. On 30 October 2011, the railway line and terminal station were ready for service, however until the opening no scheduled trains will operate.
Operating tests and service trials began 24 November 2011, based on the anticipated opening date of 3 June 2012. A total of 12,000 volunteers participated in simulated check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage claim. The tests used 15,000 pieces of luggage in the automated baggage processing system and covered nighttime operations and emergency scenarios. This phase also saw the acceptance tests of various airport systems. It became clear on 8 May 2012, that the building could not open on schedule, officially due to the failure of the fire protection system. In reality, according to a State Audit Brandenburg's report in February 2016, the usability of the airport was at 56.2 percent (there were no ticket counters, the escalators did not work, etc.) and no realistic chance that it could be used "reasonably successful" in 2012. Legal implications concerning the failed 2012 opening are likely after the report was published in 2016.
Delayed opening and construction flaws
When construction of the terminal building began in 2006, FBB announced 30 October 2011 as the opening day for the new facility. A few days after the 14 June 2010 topping out ceremony, FBB announced that construction deadlines could not be met, and postponed the opening 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 close once the last flights of 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 allow this, the authorities planned to restrict the highways linking the two airports (A113, A100 and parts of A111) for airport traffic only. 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, was scheduled as the first departure from the new airport 3 June at 06:00.
Just 26 days before the move, on 8 May 2012, FBB again postponed the opening date, canceling moving plans and in some cases, reversing actions already completed. It cited technical difficulties primarily concerning the fire safety and smoke exhaust systems for the delay. As a result, FBB dismissed Manfred Körtgen, the director for technical affairs, and replaced him with Horst Amann. It also announced 17 March 2013 as the new opening date for BER, however, this was soon met by doubts due to the large number of construction flaws and problems that inspectors continued to find.
In early September 2012, FBB further postponed the opening 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.
FBB announced on 6 January 2013, that BER would be further delayed, at least until 2014, but did not announce a definite opening date. 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. The board also dismissed Rainer Schwarz, the CEO of FBB, on 16 January. FBB named Hartmut Mehdorn, previously CEO of Deutsche Bahn (1999–2011) and Air Berlin (2011–2013), as Schwarz's replacement on 8 March 2013. On 8 January 2014, FBB announced the airport would not open in 2014; and on 24 February, Hartmut Mehdorn stated it would be unlikely the airport would open before 2016.
Citing dissatisfaction with construction progress, members of the airport board indicated during their 8 December 2014 meeting that they were beginning the search for a new CEO, although Mehdorn's contract ran through 2016. One week later, Mehdorn announced he would resign his position as soon as the board named a successor, but no later than June 2015. On 20 March 2015, Mehdorn again faced questions from the Investigative Commission of Berlin's parliament although the previous week, Karsten Muehlenfeld replaced him as airport CEO. Mehdorn eventually ceased all public duties as of 21 May 2015 for health concerns. His successor is Carsten Muehlenfeld, former head of Rolls Royce Germany. Berlin's mayor Michael Müller was appointed to become the new head of the control board (Aufsichtsrat) on 3 July 2015. Meanwhile, Müller doubted Mühlenfeld, mainly for the opening date. The board insisted on an opening in 2017 on 23 April 2016 led by mayor Mueller.
A former manager for BER was taken into remand for alleged bribery on 13 May 2015. An Imtech manager is alleged to have given bribes in an envelope at a highway gas station in 2012 to a BER manager. Imtech built parts of the infamous fire exhaustion system.
The German branch of (Dutch) Royal Imtech filed for bankruptcy as of 6 August 2015. As a result, Martin Delius, leading the commission of enquiry into the failures during the airports construction, stated that the planned opening in late 2017 was doubtful. The parent company of German Imtech went also bankrupt a few days after its German dependency. 
In mid-August 2015, new allegations of corruption were published in the Bild newspaper. According to the paper, some large contractors filed additional payment demands after completion of a respective project within BER, and received the complete requested payment almost without any objections. Lawyers reviewing the process stated that the high percentage rate at which those claims were met was unique and extraordinary. As a result, all payments, counting from the beginning of the project, are to be reviewed.
An opening in 2017 has become unlikely as of August 2015.
The unlikely opening in 2017 seems to have further involuntary consequences for Berlin's traffic infrastructure. Tegel's permit will expire at the end of 2017. If BER is not open by then, Berlin's traffic volume will see shortages, because authorities might shut down Tegel without replacement. This will imply that pressure to open BER will mount drastically. (An EASA permit is needed from 2018 onwards to operate.)
A former Imtech dept. head admitted to taking bribes on a parking lot next to a highway in the respective trial in front of court on 23-aug-16. "It was illicit to take the 150.000Euro. It was wrong" he told the court in Cottbus.
The airport was not able to perform with the fifth and sixth appendix for the construction permission at the end of aug 16. The 5. and 6. will be rechecked till the end of sep. The 5th appendix lacks fire protection documentation for the switch between airport and railway station.
A planned announcement of an opening failed which was projected for 7 October 2016.
The major issue for the delayed opening is that the fire protection and alarm system in the terminal building was not built according to the construction permit, and failed the mandatory acceptance test necessary to open the airport. FBB proposed an interim solution employing up to 700 human fire spotters which the building supervision department of the local Dahme-Spreewald district rejected. Inspectors have uncovered flaws in the wiring, programming and implemention of the highly complex system designed by Siemens and Bosch which automatically controls sprinklers, smoke extractors and fire doors. For aesthetic reasons, designers decided that the terminal would have smoke extraction ducts in its ceiling, but they would not exhaust on its rooftop. In a fire, smoke would be pumped from the ceiling into a shaft running down and through the basement below the structure, requiring the natural rising behavior of hot air in the shaft to be reversed. Achieving this on the scale necessary for this airport is a unique undertaking and, thus far, this elaborate smoke extraction system has not worked as planned. To meet the requirements for the fire system to pass the acceptance test, large scale reconstruction work might be needed.
The insolvency of general planner Planungsgemeinschaft Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg International (pg bbi) and the dismissal of the Gerkan, Marg and Partners architects, who bore partial blame for the problems, had a widespread impact on construction. Inspectors have uncovered many examples of poor workmanship due to a lack of proper supervision and documentation, most notably concerning the wiring. Reports have surfaced about cable conduits which hold too many cables or in incompatible combinations, such as phone lines and high voltage wires. A total of 60 kilometres (37 mi) of cooling pipes were allegedly installed with no thermal insulation. To correct this, the demolition of numerous walls may be necessary. Furthermore, exterior vents appear to be in improper locations, allowing rain water from the western facade to enter them. The 18 km (11 mi) long exhaust system to remove smoke from a fire is leaking.
The initial design for the main hall, known as "monster" to construction workers, called for a single exhaust system. Revised plans call for multiple systems controlled by 90 km (56 mi) of wiring. As of 19 May 2014, Siemens has not yet designed the wire harnesses. These problems are forcing the initial construction budget to skyrocket.
BBI sought to open the north pier for use by three to ten flights per day as a test, though other parts of the airport will not be operational for some time. It requested that Technischer Überwachungsverein (Technical Inspection Association, TÜV) review the facility for safety and compliance to Brandenburg building codes. In its assessment report issued on 29 July 2014, TÜV found that some lightning rods were missing and that the back-up generator powering the sprinkler system did not provide adequate power. One source with the TÜV stated, "What the airport ordered was sufficient for a circus tent, but [if power fails] not for the dimensions of the terminal."
When Mehdorn testified before the Investigations Commission of the Berlin parliament in March 2015, he stated that redesigns to correct the exhaust system will not be complete until "after the summer break" and that the terminal will not be finished until "March/April". To resolve the smoke ventilation problems with "the monster", it is being divided into several smaller systems and ducts added to clear smoke from inside the terminal.
The main construction permission, i.e. the permission the authority of Berlin issues to construction firms, is destined to expire. Thus the entire construction work is bound to terminate on 23 November 2016. A new law, referred to as a "Lex BER", is proposed to avoid any collision with construction authorities by extending the construction permission for ongoing projects indefinitely.
An immediate halt to all construction efforts concerning the terminal was ordered on 21 September 2015 because a collapse of the main roof was imminent according to construction supervision of district Dahme-Spreewald. The shutdown lasted two weeks. Furthermore, 600 fire protection walls have to be exchanged which were erroneously built out of gas concrete blocks and are as such of insufficient fire protection. The mortar was inadequate as well. The ventilator stabilization problem was known for 5 years. Businessmen who planned to open a store in the terminal in 2012 for the original opening are determined to sue soon, as of 15 December 2015.
As of 7 February 2016, opaque skylights (which can allow smoke to escape) in the main gangway numbering 24 are unlikely to get official approval. The opaque skylights are part of the infamous fire exhaustion system. The system seems to be too antiquated; the authority will only approve one single clap each time in a check.
As of April 2016, the fire exhaustion system has further lapses that will delay a new issuing of the rework permission (for the fire exhaustion). The underground railway station needs a redesign for the underground part of the fire exhaustion system. Incoming or departing trains may suck smoke into the station. As of such, air flow guidance is needed to avoid this effect. But the airport connot decide upon it itself. Admission is needed by Eisenbahnbundesamt. The construction authority at district Dahme-Spreewald and the Eisenbahnbundesamt and the airport thus need to take part in the redesign effort. Then again, the plans on how to rebuild the underground part will not be finished before June. Thus with no plans the district cannot grant the redesign permission. As such, the airport cannot start the redesign effort before start July (anticipating that the district will shortly check on the plans). As such, the construction process is delayed by at least 8 months. Thus an opening in 2016 is elusive.
On 17 April 2016, it became clear that the district will check on the plans intensively. Furthermore, no plan was publicly inaugurated yet as the official solution by the three parties mentioned previously. Airport head Muehlenfeld thus publicly demanded that the parties come to grips with their decision. The core of the problem is that there are two designs: one for the underground station by German railways and one for the connecting hallway and stairs from the terminal (by the airport). The plans are just being adapted towards each other and whether they are compatible remains to be seen.
On 25 April 2016, Muehlenfeld stated that "surprisingly, demands (towards a simulation of the problem) are higher than expected." In fact, the Eisenbahnbundesamt demanded that the commuter trains get simulated up to a speed of 100 km/h when entering or leaving the station. Thus it will take more time to simulate the exact solution for the underground railway station. Emergency/evacuation scenarios ought to be simulated as well according to a letter from the Eisenbahnbundesamt. To prevent suffocation in an emergency, glass towers are to be built inside the railway station which end in so called "light windows". These are simply openings in the roof which will then provide fresh air. Mold seems to be persistent. Thus the railway station is already ventilated from time to time by mobile fans.
It became clear at the end of May 2016 that the airport had lost the battle the underground station redesign to be approved quickly. Thus the recently placated emergency timetable with the aim of still opening in 2017 is invalid. As such, an opening in 2018 or later is the only possibility. Specifically the airport was not able to conform to the fifth appendix for the construction permission. It got declined. The airport found it hardly helpful that there was no quick approval of the underground redesign efforts as of 10 June. Instead, the authority stated that a filing for the fifth appendix was totally incomplete and insufficient. Chris Halecker decried political pressure from the airport. He is the vice in the hierarchy of Dahme-Spreewald.
A failure published on 11 October 2016 during the committee session is that motors used to open and close windows do not operate above 30 degrees Celsius and they need to be exchanged as of such. 3000 smoke detectors got missing. They got found afterwards.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport will have two parallel runways. With a spacing of 1,900 metres (6,200 ft), these will allow independent flight operations without 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 adapt to the new airport, it has been renovated and lengthened from 3,000 to 3,600 metres (9,800 to 12,000 ft).
The newly built southern runway has a length of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) and was officially commissioned 31 May 2012. Until the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, it is closed per NOTAM.
The main lanes will be shut from July 17 while the southern lane will be active. The duration is estimated to be 3 months.
Air traffic control
The Deutsche Flugsicherung is responsible for air traffic control and apron control at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. At 72 metres (240 ft), the control tower is the third highest in Germany (only surpassed by Munich Airport and Düsseldorf Airport). On 25 March 2012, the new tower opened replacing the former facility at Schönefeld.
The U-shaped terminal building of Berlin Brandenburg Airport was designed by gmp architects, which previously designed the hexagonal Terminal A at Tegel Airport, opened in 1974. At BER, the terminal sits between the two runways, creating a so-called midfield airport above the underground train station. The terminal has four public levels designated 0, 1, 2 and 3.
The check-in area is located in the public area at Level 1 and houses 118 counters organised in eight clusters, called check-in isles. Planners anticipate that a significant number of passengers will use the more than 100 self check-in machines which will be installed. Additionally, by May 2015 two extensions had been added to both sides of the main check-in area containing 12 more check-in counters and eight security lanes each to avoid overcrowding of the main hall.
The airside area will be accessible only to ticketed and screened passengers. Securitas Germany will staff the 35 screening stations. BER is equipped with 25 jet bridges, with another 85 aircraft stands on the apron. The boarding and arrival areas are divided into three piers with the main pier at 715 metres (2,350 ft) long and the north and south piers at 350 metres (1,150 ft) each. The main pier contains 16 jet-bridges; all but one have two levels, thus separating 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.:8–10 Eight of the gates can accommodate wide-body aircraft and one gate has been designed to accommodate the Airbus A380, the largest commercial airliner currently in use. The apron has sufficient space to allow installation of a dual jetway allowing 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 to the United States and Israel. Air Berlin, Lufthansa and Air France/KLM will operate airport lounges in the main pier, which will also be open for passengers of the respective alliance partners.
The south pier is reserved for near-exclusive use of Air Berlin and its Oneworld partners and contains nine single-storey jet bridges (gates A30–A38). The north pier features a more minimalist design compared to the other two piers, meeting the demands of low-cost carriers and has no jet-bridges, but walk-boarding-gates (B30–45) with direct apron access.
Plans for a separate low-cost airline terminal, costing €200 million, were released in March 2016.
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.
Airport tourism facilities
The Infotower is a 32 metres (105 ft) observation tower located adjacent to the northern cargo terminal. It includes a museum and a gift shop, and is the only portion of the airport currently open to the public. FBB also offers guided tours of the airport which have grown in popularity since the delayed opening.
The air transport wing of the German Defence Ministry (Flugbereitschaft), responsible for government flights, will move to Berlin Brandenburg Airport from its current base at Cologne Bonn Airport. It operates a fleet of Bombardier Global Express, Airbus A319, Airbus A310 and Airbus A340-300 VIP configured aircraft. The Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben (Federal Agency for Real Estate) is planning to construct a terminal on the northern edge of the airport for use by government officials and to welcome foreign dignitaries during state visits. The glass-and-wood building is expected to be completed by 2016. The former Terminal A of Schönefeld Airport is serving as an interim terminal.
In March 16 the management of the airport killed the contract with Germany that guaranteed usage of terminal A of the old airport when the new one was open. While still not finished the entire design is now supposed to have a different purpose than government use. The government is supposed to receive some provisional solution. German minister of traffic Dobrindt protested the nixing of the contract by Karsten Muehlenfeld, who claimed it was only some formality to nix the government use of the respective building. Concerning the matter Dobrindt saw "immediate necessity for action of the controlling board "to instruct Muehlenfeld. Muehlenfeld suggested the provisional area RAMP1 as a replacement solution for terminal A at the end of February 2016.
No construction firm could be found as of May 2016.
Noise abatement regulations in the airport's operating licence mean no take-offs or landings are allowed between midnight and 05:00. The Federal Administrative Court of Germany rejected a lawsuit by residents aiming to extend this night flight ban from 23:00 to 06:00 on 13 October 2011. It was also ruled that affected residents should be provided with additional noise insulation.
Projected passenger volume and expansion plans
Since the German reunification, air traffic in Berlin has grown greatly. In 1991, the combined passenger volume of the city's airports was at 7.9 million per year. By 2014, this number had risen to 28 million. When Berlin Brandenburg opens, it will have a capacity of 27 million passengers per year. It may be expanded by up to two satellite concourses, bringing the terminal capacity to 45 million with runways capable of accommodating 50 million passengers per year. The two satellites, located on the apron parallel to the main pier and linked by tunnel, are included in the construction permit of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, meaning they could be built at any time without further regulatory hurdles or the possibility of third-party objections. A possible third runway could be located in the south, though no such plans exist to date.
Expected airlines and destinations
Air Berlin will move its primary hub from Tegel to Berlin Brandenburg. As a member of the Oneworld global airline alliance, Air Berlin requires airport facilities capable meeting the demands of its connecting passengers which Tegel cannot provide.
With the expected opening of BER 3 June 2012, Lufthansa greatly expanded its presence in Berlin at its interim facilities at Tegel Airport by adding several 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 will likely become one of the largest tenants at BER.
EasyJet will become the leading low-cost carrier at BER in terms of routes served, relocating its current Schönefeld base. If 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||
The terminal connects to a 3.1 kilometres (1.9 mi) east-west railway tunnel under the apron and the terminal complex. As the nine tunnel sections were the first structures to be built, they were constructed by 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.
Deutsche Bahn 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 Wrocław and Kraków 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 main 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 accessible for air travellers from the western regions of that country. The rail line won't be finished until 2024.Train rides towards BER might be complicated and require changing trains. A new rail concept might be necessary.
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 completed by the opening of BER. Around 10,000 parking spaces will be available in four multi-storey car parks.
A study attested that the highway leading to BER will frequently jam once the airport is open. The study was released in sep 16. The study stated that the highway called "Stadtautobahn" got too less lanes and is anyhow unable to support the expected masses of traffic. The highway part leading up to Ber ("Airgate") is anyhow too short and makes you need to turn back onto the main highway A113 what will lead to rampant congestion on the part leading up to the BER ("Airgate"). Thus it will collapse traffic on the main highway A113 near BER. See also: Fritz if tunnel Britz closes 
Public transport connections at the new airport will include numerous bus services. Express buses X7 and X11 will connect BER and U-Bahn Rudow of underground line U7, every five minutes. The X11 bus continues to Lichterfelde-West and to Dahlem. Other bus lines also stop at a number of stations, providing connections with Berlin’s public transport network and destinations in Brandenburg.
Commercial and exposition area
Berlin Air Show (ILA)
On 3 July 2012, the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport opened on the southeastern portion of the airport grounds. Messe Berlin operates the 250,000 square metres (2,700,000 sq ft) exposition facility which 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 opened near the old Schönefeld Airport. On 14 November 2007, the Infotower, a 32 metres (105 ft) high public viewing tower containing an exhibition about the new airport, opened on the BER construction site.
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 hectares (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 hectares (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, 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 expected to take off and land in a path parallel 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 and a lawsuit which the courts rejected.
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 an expansion of air traffic to and from the south of Berlin. Also, traffic and environmental experts criticise the late completion dates for the fast connection to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Still, Berlin Hauptbahnhof will be only a 30-minute journey with trains departing every 15 minutes upon inauguration. By 2020, this should be reduced to 20 minutes after reconstruction of the Dresdner bahn.
Due to the rising passenger numbers at Berlin airports and delays to BER, concerns were voiced that the new airport might be too small as Tegel and Schonefeld airports saw 1 million more passengers in 2014 than Brandenburg airport's design capacity, especially check-in areas. Also, there are doubts about its economic viability once opened.
In May 2016, it emerged that a whistleblower on the much-delayed and over-budget airport project, who had alerted the public to major corruption within the project, had been poisoned with a "deadly substance" but survived after a three-month period of illness.
- Transport in Germany
- List of airports in Germany
- List of world's most expensive transport infrastructure
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- "Und wieder gehen Terminpläne am BER in Rauch auf" [timetable went up in smoke once more]. rbb.
- "Müller: "Schließe Eröffnung 2018 nicht mehr aus"" [Mayor Mueller:"I don't exclude an opening in 2018 anymore]. Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Bahn Chef Grube schaltet sich ein Keine Lösung fuer" [Railway head Grube gets into the fight No solution for fire protection]. Bild. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
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- "Einen Kredit von 2,4 Milliarden Euro will die Flughafengesellschaft BerlinBrandenburg aufnehmen, die öffentliche Hand soll komplett bürgen. Die Gegner dieser Entscheidung wollen sich damit nicht abfinden" [the airport company intends to take a loan of 2.4 bio €, state is determined to guarantee for it. The opponents are not yet willing to comply and file in Bruxelles against EU permission citing still open fifth appendix].
- "Weitere Verspätung am Flughafen BER: Ist eine Eröffnung 2018 noch wahrscheinlich?" [Is an opening 2018 still plausible?]. berlinonline.de.
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- "Most embarrassing airport in the world-Parliament inquiry of German ecos yields govt answer saying it is secret when the airport will make a profit – Setting a cost limit is avoided, thus costs may rise above 5.3bio". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Staff (25 May 2015). "Bund schließt weitere Kostenrisiken beim BER nicht aus" [Bund does not rule out further cost risks when BER]. Stern (in German). Hamburg, Germany: Gruner + Jahr. ISSN 0039-1239. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
Derzeit gehe die Flughafengesellschaft Berlin-Brandenburg (FBB) von rund 5,3 Milliarden Euro Gesamtkosten aus. (Currently, the airport company Berlin-Brandenburg (FBB) going from approximately EUR 5.3 billion total cost.)
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- "Der Flughafen BER wird kein Drehkreuz".
- "BER wird jetzt offiziell Provinz-Flughafen—BER now officially province airport".
- "Deutsche Bahn verklagt BER-Flughafengesellschaft auf 70 Millionen Euro Schadenersatz".
- "Pannen-Airport: Berliner Flughafen soll Millionen für ungenutzte Bahnhöfe zahlen" [Airport of the lapses: airport supposed to pay millions for unused station].
- "Strenge BER-Auflagen? Woanders sind die Standard" [Rigid requirements for BER? They are standard elsewhere].
- "Veröffentlichung der Zahlen nicht rechtmäßig?BER-Chef rächt sich an Brandenburgs Rechnungshof" [Illicit publishing of calculations?BER boss retaliates against comptroller.]. bild.de (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-27.
- "Lärmschutz am BER kostet bis zu 50 Mio. Euro mehr" [Soundproofing upto 50mio more expensive].
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- "Bauarbeiten liegen weiterhin hinter dem Soll zurück".
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- "BER-Aufsichtsrat hält an 2017 fest-Wenn es schlecht laufe, finde man in dem neuen Terminal in Schönefeld noch 15 solcher Fehler, vermutete Bretschneider.-Brettschneider assumed that if it goes bad you may find 15 of such failures".
- "600 Wände müssen ausgetauscht werden".
- "600 Wände müssen ausgetauscht werden".
- "Ex-Generalplaner: Firmen plündern BER-Baustelle".
- "Verhinderte BER-Unternehmer klagen auf Schadenersatz".
- "Wieder wegen Brandschutz- Beim BER klappt mal wieder nichts".
- "Neue Spekulationen um BER-Eröffnung".
- "BER liegt acht Monate hinter dem Zeitplan" [ber's 8 months behind schedule]. Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
- "Spätestens im Mai muss eine Einigung zum Brandschutz fallen" [At least in May a decision is needed concerning fire protection (in the underground station)]. Tagesspeigel.
- "Auflagen gefährden Start des BER" [requirements menace start of BER].
- "Dieser Brief gefährdet die BER Eröffnung" [This letter endangers the BER opening]. Bild.
- "Sturzflug am BER" [Does the BER dive?].
- "Dieses Loch soll das Brandschutzproblem lösen" [This hole is supposed to solve the fire problem].
- "BER bekommt zwei Terrarien für frische Luft" [2 terrariums for fresh air provided].
- "BER und Deutsche Bahn einigen sich auf Vergleich" [airport and GermanRailways agree on agreement concerning the railway station – no court involved].
- "Notplan für BER-Eröffnung 2017 geplatzt" [emergency timetable for an opening still in 2017 erroneous].
- "Behörde sagt Fehlende Unterlagen kann man nicht bearbeiten" [authority says missing forms cannot be handled].
- "BER-Chef dämpft Hoffnung auf rasche Eröffnung – ww.berliner-zeitung.de/24876880" [BER head dampens hopes for quick opening].
- "BER: Defekte Motoren und veraltete Monitore" [defunct motors and antique monitors].
- "Bau des Hauptstadtflughafens - Die Lach- und Sachgeschichten des BER" [the top 5 in weird construction failures].
- "Closure of the south runway at Schoenefeld". Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft mbH. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Stromausfall am BER – jetzt prüft die Luftfahrtbehörde". Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- "Südliche Start- und Landebahn des BER wird temporär genutzt" [Southern runway will be used temporarily]. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
- "Opening of the BER control tower". youtube.com.
- "Pavillons am neuen Hauptstadtflughafen BER sind fertig". airliners.de. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
- Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Handbuch (PDF). Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft mbH. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- "Noch mehr Bau am Bau" [Still more construction within the construction-BER gets discount terminal-Plans for the capital airport are being revised again-now, a further terminal for discount airlines is supposed to be built] (in German).
- "Infotower". Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Cottrell, Chris (10 April 2014). "In a Land of On-Time Arrivals, a Tour of Anything But". The New York Times. p. A9.
- "airberlin, Germania, Harder & Partner and Berlin Airports celebrate laying of foundation stone for first maintenance hangar at BBI". Airberlin.com. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Lufthansa Technik: Spatenstich für BER-Wartungshalle" [Lufthansa Technik: Groundbreaking for BER maintenance hangar] (in German). airliners.de. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "List of civilian aircraft types operated by German Luftwaffe". airfleets.net. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Paul, Ulrich (14 May 2012). "Bauverzögerung führt zu Mehrkosten" [Construction delay leads to additional costs]. Berliner Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Schoelkopf, Katrin (27 July 2008). "Warum die Bundesregierung umweltschädlich ist" [Why the Federal Government is harmful to the environment]. Berliner Morgenpost (in German). Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Bundesminister Dobrindt attackiert neuen Chef Schon wieder Stress um Pannenflughafen BER" [Dobrindt attacks Muehlenfeld-Renewed stress for blackout-airport BER] (in German).
- "BER-Drama und kein Ende Streit um Regierungsterminal verschärft sich" [battle for govt terminal escalating] (in German).
- "Flughafen BER findet keine Baufirma für Regierungsterminal" [Airport cannot contract a construction firm]..
- ADV Monthly Traffic Report (PDF). Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Verkehrsflughäfen (ADV). 5 February 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Mangasarian, Leon (14 March 2013). "Berlin Airport Fiasco Shows Chinks in German Engineering Armor". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "Tegel – the business airport". Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft mbH. Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- "Lufthansa is growing in Berlin" (Press release). Lufthansa. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Flottau, Jens (11 October 2012). "Lufthansa Transfers Most Short-Haul Flights To Germanwings". Aviation Week. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Luftverkehr auf allen Flugplätzen [Traffic at All Airports] (PDF) (in German). Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis). 28 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Business-on.de (21 November 2007). "Deutsche Bahn: Aufträge für Schienenanbindung Flughafen BBI vergeben" [Contracts awarded for rail link Airport BBI] (in German). Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Newmann, Peter (27 August 2012). "Schnell zum Flughafen geht es erst ab 2020" [Fast trips to the airport will come only after 2020]. Berliner Zeitung. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft mbH. "Local and long-distance transport". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Polen eröffnet neue Autobahn" [Poland opens new motorway]. Märkische Oderzeitung. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Langsam, aber sicher?" [Slowly, but definitely?]. Sputniknews. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Nach BER-Eröffnung Kollaps" [Loge warns of traffic collapse].
- "Der BER könnte die Stadtautobahn lahmlegen" [BER could collapse traffic on so called Stadtautobahn(A113)]. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "Wenn der Flughafen BER öffnet, dann schließt der Tunnel Britz" [if BER opens tunnel Britz closes].
- "Berlin ExpoCenter Airport built in record time" (Press release). Messe Berlin. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Groundbreaking ceremony at new ILA grounds" (PDF) (Press release). BDLI. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "BBI Infotower for East Germany's largest building site" (Press release). Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft mbH. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Warner, Mary Beth (3 November 2011). "Resistance Builds to Planned Flight Paths at New Berlin Airport". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Reisezeitverlängerungen für Airport-Express-Reisende" [Longer travel times for Airport Express travelers]. Berliner Zeitung (in German). 26 August 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- "Berlin Brandenburg airport corruption 'whistleblower poisoned'". BBC News. 2 May 2016.
- Kuhlmann, Bernd (1996). Schönefeld bei Berlin: 1 Amt, 1 Flughafen und 11 Bahnhöfe [Schönefeld near Berlin: 1 Office, 1 Airport, and 11 railway stations]. Berlin: Gesellschaft für Verkehrspolitik und Eisenbahnwesen [Society for Transport Policy and Railways]. ISBN 978-3-89218-038-8. OCLC 75906791.
- von Przychowski, Hans (2001). Fehlstart oder Bruchlandung? Berlin-Brandenburger Flughafen-Politik. Verlorene Jahre – verlorene Millionen. Das Ringen um den BBI, 1990–2000, eine Zeittafel mit Kommentaren [Aborted start or crash landing? Lost years – lost millions. The struggle over the BBI, 1990–2000, a chronology with commentary]. Berlin: NoRa. ISBN 978-3-935445-26-9. OCLC 76312197.
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