Berlin Brandenburg opening delayed to October 2013

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Officials reviewing the readiness of Berlin Brandenburg airport have concluded that too much work needs to be revised, and have pushed back the opening date again to 27 October 2013.

The airport operator's technical director, Horst Amann, detailed the position at a supervisory board meeting on 7 September, adding that the airport requires an additional investment of €1.2 billion ($1.5 billion).

He says that plans for the crucial fire-protection system, which forced the operator to abandon plans to open the airport in June this year, were "flawed and incomplete". He adds that further work is needed to ensure that the contractors are working from a "reliable" foundation.

The effort to meet the 3 June 2012 opening date led to rushed and "improper" work, including cabling congestion, says Amann. He adds that the review found no fundamental problem with the design of the fire-protection system.

He stresses that the new plan must ensure that construction is completed by the third quarter of 2013 in order to complete the necessary regulatory approvals and trial operations.

Amann says that he has "challenged the existing assessments, plans and schedules" and "pressed the reset button" on the project. "Only with such a step can we put the airport back on a reliable track towards opening," he says.

The revised schedule for Brandenburg is "realistic", says Amann.

Both Berlin Tegel and Schonefeld airports will be closed on 26 October, and operations will transfer overnight to the new airport.

Brandenburg was to open on 17 March 2013 but was the additional delay was widely anticipated.

The extra funding requirement of €1.2 billion includes a €322 million provision for additional costs and loss of revenue, as well as €276 million to cover existing construction expenditure.

Berlin Tegel services will be examined closely in order to bring "weaknesses" in the airport under control, says the operator, so that the postponement does not create problems for airlines and passengers. It adds that there will be discussions aimed at "minimising the risks" and "avoiding hardship" for the various retail and catering tenants at Brandenburg.