The expression”better late than never” hasn’t been more apt compared to Berlin’s new airport that’s eventually opening — almost 10 years behind schedule.
The Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which continues its series of fortune by opening at the center of a pandemic which has triggered travel globally to plummet, was intended to open its door on October 30, 2011, however bad preparation and building work has stalled the job multiple occasions and inflated its price to the songs of billions of euros.
Euronews recaps the entire saga.
The concept of a central airport to the German funding emerged following the country’s reunification in 1991 and likely started just 1 year after. The airport was original to be termed”Berlin Brandenburg International”.
In 1996, both shareholders — Berlin, the country of Brandenburg and the national government — determined “to meet the regional need” the airport could be constructed in Schönefeld, the site of an airport.
Faulenbach da Costa, that has been intending airports since 1985 and has accompanied the BER airport job as a consultant, states that in the 1990s it was apparent that the German funding would rise and the Schönefeld region was too near the town and would not be expandable.
A 1994 regional preparation process had flagged the danger, concluding that the area was unsuitable for its projected two runways and also a yearly passenger volume of 30 million.
September 5, 2006: The official structure of this airport starts with a revolutionary ceremony.
2007: The Construction Regulations Office of the Dahme-Spree district issues the license for the key terminal and also the”Pier North”.
By airport planner Faulenbach da Costa, “serious preparation mistakes” already became evident at this time. The terminal accepted for the building, with a gross floor space of approximately 260,000 square meters and inner space allocation, was too tiny. Additionally, there was no overall contractor appointed, rather, smaller building contracts were granted to different building firms.
The shareholders as well as the architects’ office (GMP and JSK) desired to adhere to the opening date” at any cost”, despite job managers in the time calling for a redesign of this airport and the postponing of their opening.
Rather, as a way to progress with the building work, a so-called”stride bonus” was granted to construction contractors — with no control over their achievement, states Faulenbach da Costa.
The architects have been commissioned to plan the”South Pier” and also to fix the preparation mistakes discovered at the key Terminal 1.
However, construction would finally start on the grounds of the 2007 construction license.
To get Faulenbach da Costa, the choice to move without making modifications to the initial plan regardless of the airport being too modest to maintain the deadline was another error.
“They attempted in a rush to finish the terminal under stress and caused chaos on the building site, lost control of the building site, and then attempted to complete regardless of how. That’s what led to this madness,” he contended.
Because of passenger capability being too modest, the choice is required to expand the”Pier South” and the”Main Pier” and a new mezzanine flooring will be to be included. This aimed at the increasing capability to 27 million passengers each year, 12 million more than that which was planned.
2010: the principal technology officer in charge of technology planning documents for bankruptcy. This causes turbulence from the airport planning committee. Additionally, new EU security regulations need further construction steps in the airport.
That’s what the official model states. However, the media escape s that the construction and safety technologies, in addition to the fire safety measures at the terminal, have critical flaws.
October 2011: there’s not any grand opening, rather it is pushed back to June 2012.
April 2012: Weeks before the planned launch of operations, Chairman of Supervisory Board Klaus Wowereit declares the opening date needs to be postponed. The fire security system, famously known as “creature”, doesn’t function because of a”shortage of performance”.
Afterward, the State Court of Audit of Brandenburg showed the construction was just 57 percent finished at that moment.
Lawsuits from the airport begin being registered by local communities and citizens following the book of their flight paths across aircraft noise and polluting emissions.
The Federal Administrative Court had ruled six years before no flight might take-off or territory in the airport between midnight and 05:00 am.
When asked if it wouldn’t have been better for the government to cut their sacrifice at this stage, airport planner Faulenbach da Costa responded: “Formulated a little exaggeratedly: A stick of dynamite will supply greater order than attempting to clean this up.”
“What I meant was: Leave the casing of the construction, strip the heart of the construction, and reconstruct everything indoors. Maintain the airport, most importantly, meet the [passenger] demand. So that need may nevertheless be fulfilled in 10-15 years. That would happen to be more economical, quicker, and more effective than attempting to revive the building together with the mess it was made and then place it into operation or 9 decades afterward,” he explained.
June 2012: there’s not any grand opening, rather it has pushed back to March 2013.
Opening date: March, afterward October 2013
August 2012: Horst Amman, which oversaw the building of a new runway and preparation for Terminal 3 in Fraport, the principal aviation center in Frankfurt, is called COO. He starts to record building errors with their amount reaching the six-digit selection.
Aside from the well-known difficulty of this fire protection system, the escalators were too brief, rainwater was leaking to the venting system, cable canals were marked in areas where there were plumbing, many doorways are erroneously numbered so that rescue services would not have the ability to discover the right chambers, there are too few luggage carousels — the list is nearly inexhaustible.
He calls for the introduction to be postponed into October 2013.
He promises to guarantee that the rapid completion of this airport using a”sprint program”. Then he converts the job contracts of planners and building firms into support contracts, which translates into building companies not needing to create”results”. Also, he waives guarantee claims and the building companies’ duty to make corrections.
Mehdorn is attempting to acquire the airport partially started in spring 2014.
Mehdorn is reticent about naming a brand new concrete date, however in a meeting with a Rheinische Zeitung on 14 June 2014 he announced: “We shall be prepared to name a date at the end of the year in the most recent, and that will be it. I promise.”
Faulenbach da Costa describes: “The direction amount around 2012 drove the thing to the walls, then from 2013 onwards, Mr. Mehdorn took over, needing to finish the airport, regardless of how without taking into consideration what it might cost.”
That year, the choice to continue the functioning of this older Schönefeld airport on a foundation is accepted. An internal inspection also escapes the job to cure the fire security shortcomings that haven’t improved correctly.
January 2015: BER manager Mehdorn is substituted by Karsten Mühlenfeld. Soon after, rumors begin swirling the new phase to start the airport in 2017 isn’t realistic.
“Imtech is among the most significant construction firms for the BER construction site,” clarified airport manager Karsten Mühlenfeld at the moment. According to the airport supervisor, this threatens to cause an additional delay.
At the start of 2016, the choice will be required to plan and construct another terminal to permit approximately eight million extra passengers yearly.
A committee of inquiry set up in 2012″to describe the causes, effects, and responsibility to the price and schedule overruns in Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport (BER),” introduces its closing report.
A variety of coordination and planning mistakes made before and during construction and all of the construction mistakes are meticulously analyzed over 1,000 pages.
As a result of faulty control of automatic doors and persistent issues with the irrigation system, the launching date is postponed to the next half of 2018.
Introduction date: Second half of 2018?
The urban planner had been on the board of the airport business since 2015 since the airport planner for Berlin. The airport manager plans to finish the new construction by the end of August 2018. This will be accompanied by tests, inspections along with also a trial run, which will require the following year.
November 2017: Based on some reports from the Tagesspiegel, the position on the building site is”more striking than formerly known”.
The airport is currently not expected to start until the ending of 2021. The review of numerous safety-relevant installments (security power supply and security lighting of the major terminal) from the Technical Control Board fails. The building of this T2″cheap airline terminal” starts in summertime 2018.
Though Lütke-Daldrup doesn’t figure out how to address the passenger capacity issue, he’d obtained all necessary approvals from specialists and construction authorities in spring 2019 to be certain that the faulty airport could eventually”eliminate”.
The COVID-19 pandemic also will help reduce passenger numbers, that can be predicted to become miserable for at least four decades, Faulenbach da Costa said.
April 2020: Lütke-Daldrup declared that all essential documents that averted the airport opening, such as technical management certifications, have been passed over to the construction supervisory authority. The major terminal is accepted by the construction authority of the district Dahme-Spreewald.
September 2020: The structure of this”low-cost airline terminal” two is finished.
A”system” eating taxpayers’ cash
The airport is a tragedy in economical conditions. It’s costs taxpayers about $7 billion — over three times the initially estimated amount of $2 billion.
By Faulenbach da Costa, “it isn’t predictable that the airport could ever come from the crimson again. That means it’s going to turn into a permanent machine which requires subsidies in the bankers”.
Added to that are turnover declines because of a deficiency of passengers due to the worldwide health catastrophe. Airport boss Lütke-Daldrup does not anticipate gains until 2025.