Finally in 2020, the new Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport will open, replacing Berlin Tegel airport.
After the reunification of Germany in 1990, there came a desire to create one single airport from the three that existed at the time - Tegel, Tempelhof and Schoenefeld. Brandenburg was chosen as the location and the airport named the Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport (BER).
When Tempelhof airport ceased its operations in 2008, it left Berlin with two functioning airports - Tegel, located in the north of Berlin in close proximity to the city, and Schoenefeld, located to the south-east of Berlin. Tegel, being currently the main international airport in Berlin, welcomes over 20 million passengers annually, Schoenefeld has smaller capacities and is a hub for low-cost airlines.
Due to constant delays affecting the opening of Berlin Brandenburg airport, it was unclear what would eventually happen to the other Berlin airports. However, according to the latest news, the fate of Berlin Tegel is determined and it will be permanently closed in autumn 2020. Schoenefeld airport, on the contrary, will become a part of Berlin Brandenburg airport, which was built adjacent to the existing infrastructure of Schoenefeld.
Actual construction of BER began in 2006 and the original deadline was set to 2011, when the first travellers were expected to start their Berlin adventures by landing in the newest airport.
The first official name of BER airport was Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, which had to be amended later as an identical code (BBI) was already in use by one of India's airports. That is how the abbreviation of Berlin - BER appeared.
Similar to many other countries, who named their airport after a famous person, Berlin Brandenburg airport received its second name - Willy Brandt Airport. Even though there were other famous figures suggested, the final decision was made in favour of Nobel Peace laureate Willy Brandt - the mayor of West Berlin in 1950s-60s who later became Chancellor of West Germany.
Unfortunately, due to some minor issues, the first scheduled opening had to be postponed to 2012, and closer to that opening date, bigger problems relating to the fire safety system were revealed. The growing number of defects discovered pushed the opening date further away, resulting in the airport still being empty fourteen years later.
Contradictory to world-renowned German efficiency, Berlin airport became a subject for jokes hurting the pride of many civilians. Nevertheless, in spite of popular rumours that Berlin airport will never actually open and that the whole project should begin from scratch, official sources are all now certain - Brandenburg Airport will open its doors on 31st of October 2020.
According to the Dahme-Spreewald regional building inspection authority, Terminal T1 at Berlin Brandenburg was approved and certified for use in April 2020 followed by a series of planned trial operations carried out by FFB (Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH). Due to the coronavirus outbreak, several limitations were established: all participants were obliged to wear a mask as well as to keep 1.5 m distance from one another. Even so, trial operations went smoothly.
And now, after the downturn in airline industry due to Covid-19, it looks like the lengthy recovery period has started. Airlines are slowly restarting regular flights from Berlin, as well as offering new connections. Like any other destination in the world, Berlin airports take measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. To facilitate this, Tegel will continue its reliable operations until the 8th of November 2020, so that Berlin Brandenburg can gradually open and start running at the end of October 2020.
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