Berlin considers part-opening Brandenburg hub

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Uncertainty surrounds plans for inaugurating Berlin's future Brandenburg airport after the operator confirms that it is considering a part-opening of the terminal complex ahead of full switchover to the hub.

Bild Zeitung has reported that Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, the airport's operator, is looking at the option of opening the terminal's north pier for passenger traffic by year-end, but the German newspaper says that not only would it be impossible to gain the required building approvals before March 2014, but that regional government authorities in the Brandenburg state - which has a 37% stake in the airport - have advised against part-opening.

The north pier is designed as an airside terminal part, where outbound passengers will wait at their departure gates and inbound travellers proceed to the central arrivals area in the main building. If the pier were to be used independently, a baggage retrieval system and other installations would need to put in place.

The operator confirms that it is evaluating the idea of part-opening the airport and talking to a number of airlines - including leisure carrier Condor, Germania and "potential other airlines" - that could be handled in the north pier.

But the airport dismisses the reports on timing as "pure speculation". It maintains that a schedule for opening the German capital's new hub will be revealed in the autumn.

The flagship gateway was due to be inaugurated in June 2012, after the opening had already been delayed several times. But this was called off in May 2012, chiefly due to the building's substandard fire-protection system. The opening was delayed to October 2012 and then to March 2013, but both these targets were later abandoned.