The new capital airport BER is in operation after years of delays. Two planes brought the first passengers to the new terminal in Schönefeld on Saturday afternoon.
NAfter years of delays, the Berlin-Brandenburg “Willy Brandt” airport went into operation. On Saturday for the official opening of BER, a Lufthansa and an Easyjet plane landed at the new airport – on board, among others, the company bosses Carsten Spohr and Johan Lundgren.
Actually, the two Airbus 320 neo were supposed to land in parallel on the north and south runways to celebrate the inauguration, but that was not possible because of the bad weather. In 2020 Lufthansa had to give way to the Easyjet 3110, which had the longer taxiway. In the evening the first Easyet plane with “commercial passengers” was supposed to land, a flight from Fuerteventura. The first plane will take off early on Sunday morning and take passengers to London.
In addition to airport boss Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, the representatives of the three shareholders, Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (both SPD) and Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) were waiting on the ground.
“A new gateway to the world”
The airport is a synonym for bad planning, failure of supervision and explosion of costs. Lütke Daldrup therefore deliberately avoided classifying the opening as “historic”. Rather, he spoke of a “special” and “very important” day for Berlin, Brandenburg and East Germany. The way was “long and not easy”. Perseverance and team spirit are the hallmarks of management and employees. “But now Berlin has a new gateway to the world, a new, strong international airport,” said Lütke Daldrup.
Scheuer showed “relief and anticipation” about the completion of BER and reaffirmed his efforts to give the aviation industry, which has been depressed due to Corona, a perspective. This will be discussed at the “air traffic summit” next Friday. Turning to Lütke Daldrup, Scheuer said: “You have delivered, continue to deliver.”
Woidke spoke of the opening as “the first day of a success story”, Müller pointed out that the airport was “a piece of the history of the reunification”. Both politicians emphasized that new challenges awaited the airport, that there had to be more intercontinental connections and that flying had to become more climate-neutral. Spohr and Lundgren assured that in view of the diverse technological developments for alternative drives, there are good prospects for more sustainable travel in the air.
Spohr was distant from demands for more intercontinental flights from Berlin. “The range of long-haul routes from BER will increase. If profitability is foreseeable, we’ll be there, ”said the Lufthansa boss. “That has not been the case so far.”
Doubts about German engineering
Spectacular images of take-offs and landings at BER should actually go around the world more than eight years ago – on June 3, 2012, namely during the best summer time. The airport management had already invited to the opening of the “Willy Brandt” airport in the capital. Tickets for the flights during the summer holidays had long been issued. Thousands of party guests had already laid out their festive clothes by the time the inauguration date fell through on May 8th – just four weeks before the planned start-up.