1 JUNE 2015

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Article from BTNews 1 JUNE 2015

Berlin’s white elephant?

Repeatedly delayed due to red tape and technical problems, Berlin Brandenburg Airport is on course to open in 2017, according to a spokesman, denying a media report it could end up as a white elephant.

The planned opening will be six years after the original target date following a series of embarrassing costly setbacks.

Ralf Kunkel, a spokesman for Berlin Airports Authority, denied a report in Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the €5.1bn Willy Brandt International Airport might never be finished because its building permit expires in November 2016.

The report, quoting internal documents from the project, said that a law would have to be changed to extend the permit, but Kunkel said that would not be necessary.

Brandenburg is a development of the existing Schönefeld Airport, formerly the Berlin gateway for East Germany and now used mainly by low-cost carriers including easyJet and Wizz.  Tegel is Berlin’s current international airport.  Tempelhof, near the city centre, was somewhat prematurely closed in 2008.

"There's been no change in the schedule – we want to be finished with construction by March 2016," Kunkel said.  "After that the airport will be tested.  The opening is planned for the second half of 2017."  www.berlin-airport.de

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