Berlin's AIRPORT

Too Many Cooks, Not Enough Chefs

The taxiways may be open at Berlin's new airport, but little else is.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Berlin’s new airport has been a catalogue of disasters, and its opening, scheduled for 2011, has been delayed until late 2017. Now that is looking unlikely.

  • Facts


    • The airport has been plagued by construction problems, billions in cost overruns and poor planning and management.
    • Brandenburg state and Berlin each hold a 37 percent share in the airport, with the federal government holding the remaining 26 percent.
    • A special meeting of the airport’s supervisory board is scheduled for Friday.
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The runways and check-in desks of Berlin Brandenburg Airport were scheduled to come to life in 2011, but a series of expensive set-backs delayed its opening until 2017. Now, even that looks doubtful. Experts argue that the airport’s catalogue of disasters stems from the fact it is managed by too many politicians and too few qualified specialists.

“Almost without exception, it is politicians who deal with finances on the airport’s supervisory board, there’s not a single expert,” said Manuel René Theisen, an economics professor and publisher of a German trade magazine on supervisory boards.

“Companies that are mostly or completely under public control are, as experience shows, almost always managed less effectively,” he said. “Above all, they are negligently and inefficiently monitored and supervised.”

Dieter Janacek, an economic policy spokesman for the Green Party parliamentary group, said that the close links between the supervisory board, the political establishment and company management “do not exactly facilitate strict oversight”.

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