Berlin Brandenburg Airport Opening Slips to March 2013

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Last Tuesday, we heard the news that Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI) would not be opening on June 3. This delay has been causing Air Berlin and Lufthansa many operational headaches as they try to assess how they can continue to operate out of Tegel airport. 

Many, including Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit, were hopeful that the airport could open by the end of the summer in August, but today airport’s supervisory board says in a release that the opening date will slide to March 17th 2013.

The postponement has been blamed on the failure to install a functioning, fully-automated fire safety system before the June 3 deadline, and the supervisory board says that this should be in place by Dec. 2012. However, the board members decided that harsh weather conditions may make a winter opening risky, so they decided to officially open the airport after undergoing inspections and trial runs throughout the winter. 

A previous plan to install an interim partially-automated fire protection system may have made an August opening feasible one time (Mayor Wowereit said he hoped for that, but that timeline was never made official). However, planners found that they had to wait for the fully-automated system to adhere to building standards.

  The supervisory board of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH says that a contract with the project management company Planungsgemeinschaft Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg International (pg bbi) will end and Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s managing director overseeing operations and construction will leave the company.

Despite the delay, Air Berlin did open its new maintenance hangar there on May 7, although Jens Flottau reports on AWIN that the operator is experiencing headaches because they now have to move spare parts back to Tegel until Brandenburg actually opens. The carrier is assessing the damage of the delay on its operations.


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