New Berlin airport faces fresh delay

2013-01-07 17:50

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Berlin - The opening of Berlin's new main airport has been postponed again after several previous delays, media reported on Monday, in a fresh embarrassment for the city and its mayor.

The mass circulation daily Bild said that the airport, initially scheduled to open in June 2012 was now more likely to open next year, extending an already delayed target date of 27 October  2013.

"What a scandal. The capital is making a fool out of the whole country," Bild said, citing internal airport documents saying an opening was possible "in 2014 at the earliest" due to construction errors.

The calamity in one of Germany's largest construction projects has dented the popularity of the city's major, Klaus Wowereit, accused of incompetence and underestimating the problems linked to the building of the new airport.

Without citing its sources, Bild said that Wowereit, from the opposition Social Democrats, had already offered to resign if the 2013 start date could not be met.

"What conclusions will you draw now, Mr Wowereit?" asked the paper.

The country's top two airlines, Lufthansa and Air Berlin, have also expressed outrage over the repeated delays to the project, on the site of the current Schoenefeld Airport, in the south-east of the city.

Berlin's airports are not the country's busiest, with Schoenefeld and Tegel combined welcoming around 24 million visitors a year - less than half the 56 million passengers serviced at Frankfurt airport in western Germany.

But the new airport, to be named after former chancellor Willy Brandt, was intended to accommodate the sharp rise in air traffic to the region seen in the two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.

The latest delay is because the fire system has been built in a different way from what was specified on its building permit, Bild said.

Read more on:    germany  |  air travel
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