ROUNDUP: BER operators want to put another terminal into operation at Easter

BERLIN / SCHÖNEFELD (dpa-AFX) – After repeated handling problems in the main terminal of Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, the operators want to put another terminal into operation soon. The airport boss Aletta von Massenbach announced in a conversation with Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU), as the ministry announced on Thursday at the request of the German press agency. Terminal 2, which has not yet been used, is to be put into operation at Easter 2022 and thus further straighten out the processes for the holiday travel season. In addition, air traffic will be expanded to the second runway by mid-December at the latest.

Due to the collapse in passenger numbers in the corona pandemic, planes have so far only taken off and landed on one of the two runways on a monthly basis. The number of take-offs and landings had recently increased.

Scheuer and von Massenbach had one and a half hours intensively exchanged information about the situation and processes at BER, it said. “The discussion was primarily about how the processes at the check-in counters, security checks and baggage handling can be improved.” Von Massenbach had assured the minister that he would do everything possible to prevent the sometimes chaotic events from the autumn holidays from happening again. Among other things, the airlines are to be provided with more check-in capacity in the terminal, and passengers are to be given increased support with the check-in procedure and security checks.

After years of delays due to planning errors and construction defects, the airport went online a year ago – initially with very few passengers due to the pandemic. With the increase in tourist traffic, a lack of staff and space problems led to chaos in the autumn holidays. In the past week, there were delays and flight cancellations after an incorrect evacuation of the security area.

As the ministry also announced, Scheuer and von Massenbach also spoke intensively about the problem of the insufficient number of taxis at BER. Scheuer once again made it clear from Massenbach that the problem had to be “solved immediately”. He sees the participating states of Berlin and Brandenburg as obliged to bring about an agreement of the responsible authorities on improvements as soon as possible. “A new government is taking up work in the state of Berlin,” Scheuer was quoted as saying. “A new chance to set up the absurd and impractical regulation between the two countries. It is absurd that you end up at BER and often no taxi is there. That is extremely embarrassing and does not suit a world airport.”

The airport company had previously submitted a status report to the ministry. In addition to the states of Berlin and Brandenburg, the federal government is co-owner of the company. It is the second report the company had to file with the ministry because of the problems.

Terminal 2 had been tested and approved by the summer. For commissioning, the operators still have to coordinate with the airlines and organize test runs.

According to the airport, Terminal 2 has a capacity of 6 million passengers a year under normal circumstances, compared to 25 million at the main terminal. This year, almost 10 million passengers are expected at BER. A decision on whether to open Terminal 5 – the former GDR central airport – is not to be made for a year.

The airport company’s first report to the Ministry of Transport had also described the company’s difficult financial situation, which is demanding new financial aid from the owners./bf/hoe/maa/DP/zb

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