Same old song and dance
The chaps in charge - including Berlin's former mayor, Klaus Wowereit (second from right) - excitedly broke ground in 2006, promising a 2011 opening. Over a decade later, BER Airport is still a construction site. The first postponements, due to a faulty fire alarm system, left officials saying it wouldn't open before 2017. In September of this year, the airport's opening was delayed again to 2018. However a report obtained by Tagesspiegel finds that further serious structural problems could actually prevent an opening before 2021. Source:
What went wrong?
A faulty fire alarm system turned out to be just the start. A slew of other problems came to light: improperly laid wires, poor ventilation, emergency lines not functioning and out-of-control doors – many of which are still being dealt with today. Earlier this year, Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, the airport's current project manager, updated parliament on the airport: 51 percent of the airports doors work. And it only took 11 years! Source:
Burning through billions
Fifteen years ago the original cost of the airport was estimated at €2 billion. Today the cost has ballooned to €6.6 billion. Initially it was thought the airport would see roughly 27 million travelers a year, but now there are worries that its capacity won't cut it. This means a new airport would need to be built, or the brand new one would need modifications, as soon as it opens. Source:
Get me outta here
In the last five years, eight different people leading the airport's advisory board have stepped down as a result of the debacle, according to the Tagesspiegel report. Karsten Mühlenfeld (pictured) exited his contract earlier this year and leadership has been in constant flux. The fact that the airport has become a PR nightmare and the punchline to one too many jokes probably has something to do with it. Source: