Opening of new Berlin airport delayed indefinitely

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Lufthansa and Airberlin are scrambling to rearrange their newly expanded flight schedules after Tuesday’s announcement that the opening of the city’s unified airport, Berlin Brandenburg International, has been postponed indefinitely.

The German capital’s two existing airports, Tegel and Schonefeld, which were set to close on June 2 (the night before the new airport was to begin operations), now will remain open until it is ready.

Lufthansa was planning to quadruple the number of European and Middle Eastern routes it flies from Berlin when it moved to Willy Brandt Airport, as it is also known.

The airline also is increasing the number of aircraft it stations in the city, to 15 from nine.

Lufthansa said it hopes to stick with the planned expansion and is in discussions with Tegel, its existing base in Berlin, about obtaining additional temporary slots to accommodate its increased schedule.

However, Airberlin said it had been planning to coordinate its traffic into and out of Willy Brandt in six daily waves, and would not be able to replicate this strategy at Tegel.

“It presents immense logistical problems for all involved and will also cause additional costs which have yet to be calculated,” said CEO Hartmut Mehdorn.

Airport management attributed the postponement to unresolved concerns over fire safety arrangements. 

Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit said a rescheduled opening is being considered for late August.

Source: Business Travel News 

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