A miracle at the wrong time

The new airport in the capital begins operations – 14 years after the groundbreaking ceremony and nine years according to plan. The list of lessons learned from the disaster is long.

Finally finished: the new BER airport

DThirty years after the German reunification, 28 years after the first planning began, 14 years after the groundbreaking and nine years after the planned opening, the first aircraft will land at the new capital city airport this Saturday. The BER is ready. Self-doubt and shame, which are inextricably linked to the project, quickly mix with satisfaction – or in Berlin-style: it’s okay. The largest infrastructure project on (East) German soil, if everything goes smoothly, will soon no longer be the subject of malice from all directions, but the basis for the mobility of millions, employers for thousands, and drive for business settlements in the entire region.

However, the party mood does not arise, and this is not only due to the tightened corona restrictions. Because in the present of BER, the past still dominates the future. The employees and the frequently changing managing directors of the airport company had to endure enough mockery and ridicule about mishaps and bad luck. Planning, organizational and supervisory errors have been discussed in detail over the years. The “Made in Germany” seal of approval was devalued to a seal of defects in Germany and abroad using the example of BER – exemplified by the faulty fire protection system, which caused the inauguration in June 2012 to fail spectacularly.