Berlin’s airport operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg plans to announce the latest schedule for opening Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI) in October, and may open a small part of the operation by the end of the year.
The city’s new airport has been delayed three times, mostly recently in early 2012 because of construction flaws. Since then construction work has essentially stopped and airlines have been forced to continue operating out of the congested Berlin Tegel and substandard Berlin Schonefeld airports.
Following the departure of the airport operator’s CEO Rainer Schwarz and a search for a successor that spanned months, Hartmut Mehdorn, who was CEO of Air Berlin, assumed control of the Brandenburg project.
Mehdorn raised the idea of keeping Tegel open indefinitely even after BBI operations have started, but that proposal has been opposed by local politicians and Air Berlin, which is trying to develop a hub at its home city.
Keeping two airports open would likely lead to higher landing fees because of the overall cost increase, although there are already major capacity issues for the new facility on the horizon: its terminal is designed to accommodate around 20 million passengers annually and that figure is already exceeded today when Tegel and Schonefeld are combined.
Also, the number of runways available in Berlin would be reduced from three to two.
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, which has just completed BBI's cargo center, plans to open facilities that are ready over the next few weeks. Mehdorn is looking at moving a part of the low-cost carrier operations from the adjacent Schonefeld airport terminal to the north pier of BBI by the end of the year, which could be an interim step before the full opening.
EasyJet is rumored to be one of the first operators to move to BBI.