The Berlin saga is over: Brandenburg airport opens after 9 years of delay


October 31, 2020 / Initially slated to open on October 30, 2011, Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt” International Airport (IATA: BER / ICAO: EDDB) has officially opened its doors to commercial flights today at 14.00 with exactly nine years of delay.

The inaugural flights were operated by Lufthansa and Easyjet, which will be the two main user of the airport: the German national airline flew Airbus A320neo D-AINZ aptly named “Neubrandenburger” on flight LH2020 from Munich, with about 40 guests (including the carrier’s CEO Christian Spohr); the British low-cost operated another A320neo, G-UZHF, which flew a very much shorter route from the old Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL), approximately 25km away, with the airline’s CEO Johan Lundgren among those onboard. The two aircraft landed simultaneously at 14.00, each on one of the parallel runways, and “met” nose to nose in front of the new terminal complex for the traditional water cannon salute, before docking at one of the terminal airbridges.

Five more Easyjet flights followed on the opening day, the first of which, with ‘real’ passenger onboard, landed at 20.05 from Fuerteventura. The inaugural departure will be tomorrow, at 6.45, when G-UZHF (the same aircraft used for the opening ceremony, will leave to London Gatwick.

Berlin’s new airport will open in stages, with Lufthansa itself fully moving its operations from Tegel to Berlin Brandenburg during the next weekend. The German national airline will fly its last scheduled service out of Tegel on November 7, some thirty years after it inaugurated flights there following the Germany reunification process.

The new airport features three terminal buildings: Terminal 1 has two piers with 25 airbridges for use by full-service carriers plus Easyjet, Terminal 2 has no piers and will see Wizzair and Norwegian as main tenants, while Terminal 5 is the old Schoenefeld Airport (SXF) building and will host mainly Ryanair, Sun experess and Tuifly Germany.

Traffic at the airport, once the Covid pandemic will be over and air travel demand will be back to normal, is expected to be around 34 million passengers, making of BER Germany’s third busiest airport behind Frankfurt and Munich but preceding Dusseldorf. Once a city boasting as many as three commercial airports (Tegel, Schoenefeld and Templehof), in the span of twelve years the German Capital became a single-airport city, after Templehof (THF) closed its doors in 2008 and Tegel will do the same before the end of 2020. (Photo Berlin Brandenburg Airport)

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