Political Vacuum

Mayoral Vacancy Could Further Delay Berlin Airport

airplane berlin-DPA-CHANGED
Any idea where we should land?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Berlin Brandenburg Airport is practically complete but still unused due to technical problems.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The airport supervisory board’s top leadership position will be vacant soon.
    • The federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg are partners in the airport project.
    • The board is made up of political appointees.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

 

A new head of the supervisory board of the scandal-plagued Berlin-Brandenburg Airport has to be found.

In December, Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, will step down, and the position of supervisory board leader of the airport will become vacant. The partners — the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg — have three months to reconstitute the 15-person supervisory board.

The procrastination has already started.

Sure,  for politicians it is bad timing. After all, it’s less than two weeks until the elections in Brandenburg where, in all probability, the Social Democrats under their candidate Dietmar Woidke will continue to rule.

But which party will be coalition partner?

Will it still be the Left Party? Or will Mr. Woidke turn to the Christian Democrats? If he does, then two more seats would have to be filled on the airport supervisory board. And anyway: Is the ball in Brandenburg’s court to propose a new head, or in Berlin’s? Will the partners reach an agreement?

Everything has to be done to find the right person who will commit to the task of getting the stricken airport going.

The future supervisory board head will not be the savior of an airport that’s practically complete but still unused due to technical problems. Airport boss Hartmut Mehdorn is responsible for the operational business – but the supervisory board could hustle things along, reveal contradictions, and increase the pressure on him.

That’s contingent on someone at the top being able to stand up to Mr. Mehdorn, both personally and substantially, so that the 72 year-old manager is able to take the board seriously – made up as it is with political appointees.

Any apparent lack of entrepreneurial savvy on the part of the board will only elicit scorn from Mr. Mehdorn. But perhaps it is just the complex situation with three political partners that he dreads.

The political task is clear, however: Everything has to be done to find the right person who will commit to the task of getting the stricken airport going and has the time to do so. Because this is not a part-time job. The search begins officially September 14 when the polling stations in Brandenburg close. Any hesitation, for whatever reason, will not help the airport at all.

This article was translated by Bob Breen. Vinny Kuntz also contributed to this story. To contact the author: kersting@handelsblatt.com

We hope you enjoyed this article

Make sure to sign up for our free newsletters too!