Berlin’s Brandenburg airport FINALLY opened on 31 October 2020, almost 10 years after it’s scheduled date, making it the newest airport in the world and Germany’s new air hub.
Say hello to the newest, and possibly latest, airport in the world, Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg Airport – or simply BER for short.
The ‘new’ German air hub actually had a scheduled opening date of late 2011, but here we are, in 2020 – arguable the worst year for the travel industry in the history of world – with the long-awaited news of the opening.
The airport has definitely had a run of bad luck, with several setbacks, even spilling onto the opening date with protesting penguins and bad weather preventing its celebratory dual landing.
But, despite all this, it is officially open.
It has been a long road for the people behind the project at BER, with Michael Müller, the Mayor of Berlin stating at the opening ceremony, “In the past years, there were days that were despairing. But today, this airport is one great tribute to reunification,”
The setbacks started back in 2010 and seemed to get more and more ridiculous as time went on. They included:
- Smoke exhaust safety issues
- Changes with the CEO and board of directors
- An expired transport certification
- Tenancy issues
- Additional safety concerns
Even on the day of the opening, bad weather prevented the planned parallel runway dual landing of Lufthansa and easyJet, to mark the occasion.
There were also environmental protests by Am Boden bleiben (Stay On The Ground), which saw many peaceful, and a few more passionate protesters wearing penguin costumes and campaigning against climate change.
But why penguins? I hear you ask.
Because ‘penguins don’t fly and are the coolest birds that stay on the ground’.
The opening saw the southern runway ready for use. The first aircraft to land on the runway was a Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900, after a Lufthansa A320neo was unable to use the runway as planned, due to poor weather.
“I know it has been a difficult road to get here, and I think the wait has truly been worth it… We first began flying to Berlin in 2005. Gradually growing the route as it became one of our most popular destinations. While we had to temporarily suspend services due to COVID-19, our commitment to Berlin and to Germany has remained as strong as ever.”
His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO
easyJet and Lufthansa are both set to become significant users of the new Terminal 1.
Meanwhile, Berlin Tegel Airport will finally be closed. The final departure is scheduled for 8 November, putting an end to the ongoing Berlin Airport saga.
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