Finally admitting what nearly everyone already knew: There's no real chance that Berlin's 6-year-overdue new airport will open in 2017.
Karsten Mühlenfeld, a former Rolls-Royce and Bombardier executive who took over as boss of the troubled airport project last February, has pegged the new target date as late March 2018. That contradicts the repeated pledges of city officials to have it open this year, but work is still behind schedule.
“If the airport doesn’t open in October or November then at the earliest it’ll be when the flight timetables change at the end of March (2018),” according to Mühlenfeld, who explains that switching flights from Tegel airport in the north of the city to the new BER south of the city in winter would be too complicated and possibly dangerous.
The airport was intended to replace both the now-closed Tempelhof and the busy and ever-expanding cramped Tegel. It is located near the old East Berlin Sonnenfeld airport, which is also slated to close when BER opens.
Over the years, as the deadline slipped, the project has given vaunted German efficiency and engineering a black eye. In addition to corruption scandals, it's been plagued by an incorrectly designed fire safety system, roofs in danger of collapse, and more.