The new $3.3 billion Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport was supposed to open for business on June 3. Now according to news reports, airport officials say no planes will fly in or out until sometime “after the summer holidays.” UPDATE 5-17-12: Authorities now say they don’t expect the airport to open before March of 2013.
Lufthansa, Air Berlin Affected
This is disappointing news for passengers of Lufthansa and especially Air Berlin, which dedicated the new Berlin airport as its main hub. As for Lufthansa, it had expected to operate more than a thousand flights each week out of the new facility. As one official said, “We didn’t see this coming.”
Airport Fire Testing Not Completed
The delay is being blamed on testing that has yet be be completed involving a system that removes smoke in the event of a fire. In the meantime, airlines are scrambling to reschedule flights into one or both of Berlin’s old airports, which were supposed to shut down.
There are no reports of any logistical problems for passengers, but anyone flying to Berlin this summer would be smart to stay in touch with their airline. At the very least, it would be nice for those picking up loved ones at the airport to know precisely which airport to head to.