Poor fire-safety delays Berlin airport opening
The $3.29bn Berlin Brandenburg Airport will not open on 3 June as planned due to insufficient fire-prevention safeguards being in place, Rainer Schwarz, who runs the airport, said at a press conference. A new start date will be set for some point "after the summer holidays," he told reporters.
The airport, whose completion has already been pushed back from 2011, and which will serve as Air Berlin's main hub, aims to handle as many as 27 million passengers a year to start, with longer-term plans to grow capacity to as much as 45 million passengers. Berlin's two current airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, will close when the new facility opens.
Lufthansa, Germany's biggest carrier, had intended to operate more than 1,000 flights each week from the new airport, dedicating six more aircraft to the destination for a total of 15. The site has had 7,000 people racing in this final month to complete the project before the planned opening.
"We did not see this coming," Lufthansa spokesman Christoph Meier said. "They clearly cannot close Tegel if the new airport is not up and running."