Mega Airport Berlin Brandenburg: A Ghost Airport with a Cracked Reputation
When you think of Germany, you might think of efficiency, engineering and innovation. But there is one project that defies these stereotypes: the mega airport Berlin Brandenburg (BER).
BER was supposed to be a modern, state-of-the-art airport that would serve as the gateway to the German capital and Europe. It was planned to replace the two outdated airports of Tegel and SchÃnefeld, which were built during the Cold War era.
But more than a decade after breaking ground, BER still remains unopened. It has become a source of embarrassment, frustration and ridicule for Berliners, politicians and business leaders alike.
What went wrong with this ambitious project? How did it turn into a ghost airport with a cracked reputation? And will it ever see the light of day?
The Spiral of Errors
The problems with BER started from the very beginning. The planning process was marred by political interference, unrealistic expectations and poor management.
The airport was originally expected to cost â2 billion and open in 2011. But over the years, the budget ballooned to â7.3 billion and the opening date was pushed back several times.
The main reason for the delays was the faulty fire safety system, which failed to meet the legal standards. The system was designed to be too complex and sophisticated, requiring thousands of smoke detectors, sprinklers and ventilation ducts.
But the system did not work as intended. It was prone to false alarms, malfunctions and leaks. It also violated the building codes, which required a simple and reliable system that could be easily controlled by firefighters.
The airport authorities tried to fix the system by hiring different contractors, consultants and experts. But they only made things worse by creating more confusion, conflicts and errors.
Other issues that plagued the airport included faulty wiring, defective doors, leaking roofs, cracked tiles, missing documents, corrupted software and legal disputes.
The airport became a laughing stock in Germany and abroad. It was featured in jokes, memes, documentaries and books. It was also used as a symbol of incompetence, corruption and waste.
The Ghost Airport
While BER remains unfinished, it also incurs huge costs for maintenance and upkeep. Every month it sits unopened costs between â9 million and â10 million.
The airport has to be kept in a state of readiness, as if it could open any day. This means that dozens of gates, terminals, screens and conveyor belts have to be cleaned, tested and monitored regularly.
Even empty trains run into the airport station every weekday to keep it ventilated. And hundreds of employees work at the airport to manage its operations, security and finances.
But despite all this activity, there are no passengers using the airport. It is a ghost airport that only serves as a backdrop for occasional events, tours and film shoots.
The airport also has a negative impact on the environment, the economy and the society. It consumes large amounts of energy and resources. It deprives Berlin of tax revenues and tourism opportunities. And it frustrates millions of travelers who have to use the old and crowded airports of Tegel and SchÃnefeld.
The Future of BER
After years of setbacks and scandals, BER finally seems to be nearing completion. The airport authorities claim that they have fixed most of the technical issues and obtained all the necessary approvals.
They have announced a new opening date: October 31st 2020. They have also started trial operations with volunteers and test flights with airlines.
But many people remain skeptical about this deadline. They doubt that the airport will be ready in time or that it will meet the quality standards. They also wonder if the airport will be able to cope with the demand or if it will become obsolete soon.
Some critics even suggest that BER should be scrapped altogether. They argue that it is a waste of money and space that could be used for other purposes. They propose alternative solutions such as expanding Tegel or SchÃnefeld or building a new airport elsewhere.
But others defend BER as a necessary investment for Berlin's future. They believe that it will boost the city's image, attractiveness and competitiveness. They hope 0efd9a6b88