Following nearly 15 years of construction and over £6 billion, Berlin Brandenburg Airport is scheduled to open on October 31 – and easyJet and Lufthansa will be marking the occasion in style…
German flag carrier Lufthansa and easyJet will be celebrating the opening of Berlin’s embattled Brandenburg Airport with a rare joint one-off event. The pair – usually fierce rivals – are expected to perform a parallel inaugural landing when its doors open on October 31.
EasyJet and Lufthansa were chosen because they are set to be the airport’s largest users. In 2011, when the famously delayed facility was originally due to open, the city had its own airline, Air Berlin, which would have made the airport its home base. However, the operator closed in October 2017.
Berlin Brandenburg has been many years in the making. After almost 15 years of planning, construction work began on September 5, 2006. Following years of delays and setbacks, the building work was officially concluded on May 15 this year.
The new airport was supposed to replace the city’s two other facilities, Schönefeld and Tegel. Because of delays and concerns over capacity, Schönefeld’s terminal will be retained during a transition period.
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the airport authority which runs the facility, is currently carrying out a series of tests involving several thousand volunteers. Originally planned to involve 20,000 people, the number has subsequently been lowered due to COVID-19.
An evacuation exercise on August 26 reportedly involved just 800 volunteers.
The Coronavirus crisis also presents a bleak future for the facility, with a slower than expected recovery leading to additional financing requirements in the short term. Additional costs of around €300m (£267m) are expected, to round off a project that has cost the German government and private partners more than €7bn (£6.2bn) since its inception.
All photos: FBB