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Berlin: New airport 3 more years off


The longest-running soap opera in the airport world has taken a sobering new turn as Berlin officials have admitted that the new Berlin Brandenburg airport won't open in 2017. Or 2018. Or 2019. They've set a new date of October 2020.

The new airport, known also as Willy Brandt and BER, has been under construction since 2006, and was supposed to open in late 2011. Its repeated delays, over-optimistic opening dates, along with the discovery of shoddy construction, badly-designed fire and smoke systems, roof weakness and more, including corruption, have made the story a running joke of Berliners and a blow to Germany's reputation for efficiency, engineering, etc.

Now the supervisory board in charge of the project has reviewed the situation and has what it says is a credible roadmap to opening. At least this time, the opening date is more realistic. However, they have also acknowledged that the price tag for the project, currently at the €6 billion mark, will end up much higher.

The delayed date also means that Berlin's existing Tegel Airport, at the opposite end of the capital region, has a new lease on life. In a non-binding referendum months ago, Berliners voted to keep it open even after BER is ready. The vote was not legally-binding, but creates real pressure on authorities to keep Tegel open.

Above, the dream master plan for the airport.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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