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Posts from the ‘Air Berlin’ Category

BER gets being put off; SXF and TXL to remain until March 2013

May 18th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

(Update 2 @ 20/06/2012 0020 [GMT+10]: Added reference to a blog post confirming the new opening date for Berlin Brandenburg Airport.)

(Update 1 @ 2100 [GMT+10]: Added reference to a piece of news regarding Air Berlin’s request to increase operating hours at TXL.)

And to think that I was going to miss the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport because of my #avgeek commitment to fly the first commercial Boeing 747-8I service (by Lufthansa)…

There was news last week about how BER (the IATA airport code for Berlin Brandeburg Willy Brandt Airport) would not open on the 3rd of June, being the day after when SXL (Schönefeld) and TXL (Tegel) airports officially close and move their operations to the brand-new-and-bigger complex. Rumour had the date being pushed back till after summer, or around three months from the original opening date.

Outside Berlin-Brandenburg Airport
(source: Reuters)

Yesterday, Reuters reported in an article that “because of problems with fire regulations”, the new opening date now “looks like March 2013”.

There is no denying that “safety first” is king. Yet, what’s most disappointing is how all this is happening just weeks before The Big Day for Berlin-siders!

It’s not just the people related to the airport that’s gonna hurt — but the airlines too:

“Keeping open the two older airports will cost about 15 million (E)uros a month and airlines that have been selling tickets for flights from Berlin-Brandenburg for months face additional costs.”

Just who is going to foot the bill here? (I don’t even want to go there…)

More cold hard facts:

“The 2.5 billion (E)uro new airport initially aims to attract up to 27 million passengers a year, making it about half the size of Germany’s main airport in Frankfurt and less than a third the size of the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta.”

So passengers who have booked flights going through BER, knowing that it would be “that brand new airport”, will either be very disappointed or shocked beyond belief to learn they’ll be using facilities deemed “new” back in the days of the Cold War!

I wonder if some of the airlines are open to accommodating for passenger re-routing requests on issued tickets. If I were booked to transit at BER, but realising that I now have to arrange my own transport between SXF or TXL to accomplish the very same, I’d be onto it right away!

In closing, USATODAY.com just reported that Air Berlin’s CEO, Hartmut Mehdorn, had learned of the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport opening delay “from the media”:

Spiegel responded with a follow-up question, asking: “Seriously? We would have thought that the CEO of a major airline like Air Berlin would have been informed earlier.”

Mehdorn’s response:

“I would have thought so, too — and that’s one of the gripes that we now have about the way that the entire project has been undertaken.”

And, in one more nugget from the Q&A, Spiegel asked the CEO: “How did you react?”

His response:

“We were, of course, surprised and disappointed. But we couldn’t even react because, not surprisingly, no one working for the airport operator was answering the phone.”

It’s all in a shambles, I tell ya!

UPDATE 1: I just came across a post (via Air Transport World) which states that Air Berlin, sometime last week, had requested for longer operating hours (i.e. reduce its night curfew) at Tegel Airport post-June-3rd, which is when the airline was planning to increase operations after supposedly moving to Brandenburg — from 11pm to 6am, to 12am/midnight to 5am.

UPDATE 2: BoardingArea’s Ghetto IFE blog confirms the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opening date to be 17 March, 2013.

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