Turbulence for Berlin's New Airport

Daniel Michaels and Mary M. Lane recount the 16-year drama, now verging on farce, surrounding the delayed grand opening of Berlin's new airport.
May 25, 2012, 6am PDT | Alesia Hsiao
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Much to the chagrin of a country that prides itself on punctuality, the opening of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which was slated for its flying start this June, has been pushed back to next March. The much anticipated opening, in preparation for which 10,000 Berliners impersonated airline passengers in simulated scenarios to work out the kinks, has reportedly been pushed back 10 months due to problems in the terminal's fire-control systems.

Other criticisms and concerns have plagued Brandenburg's inaugural opening. "Critics call it a waste," says Berliner Frank Welskop who has written a book attacking the project's years of legal battles, delays and budget overruns.  He warns that the airport "will just become a sinkhole for billions of euros."

Moreover, Berliners resistant to change are not ready to say auf Wiedersehen to historic Tegel Airport.  Many East Berliner's first flights to the West were from Tegel after the fall of the Berlin Wall, note Michaels and Lane. 

 

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

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Published on Monday, May 21, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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