Airberlin Hit by BER Airport Opening Delay

Airberlin, Germany’s second largest airline, expressed disappointment at the delay in the opening of Berlin Brandenburg (BER) airport. Airberlin said it has planned all its infrastructural measures and flight schedules for the June 3 airport opening.

Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport was designed to replace the current hubs, Schoenefeld and Tegel. Airlines servicing Berlin are being notified, according to press reports.

Lufthansa, Germany's largest carrier, is also impacted. The delay, airport officials say, was caused by fire safety concerns.

Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO airberlin, said: “We have to work around the change of plan, which presents us with a huge challenge. It presents immense logistical problems for all involved and will also cause additional costs which have yet to be calculated.”

The new airberlin hub is conceived in such a way that airberlin aircraft fly to Berlin from different locations in a system of six traffic waves each day. Airberlin passengers are thus able to change planes and continue their flights in a very short time.

This system is exactly tailored to the conditions at BER and cannot simply be put into operation at Tegel Airport, airberlin said. As late as last week, airberlin said its Board of Management visited the new airport and all parties concerned were confident that BER would go into operation on June 3 as planned.

Mehdorn said: “We will now discuss the new situation with the BER management and bring our customers up to date as quickly as possible.” The delay may last through August.