Embattled Brandenburg airport cleared to take state funds

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Germany's troubled Berlin Brandenburg airport project has been cleared to receive a €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) capital injection from the state to complete its construction.

The delayed airport programme descended into crisis this year when, just weeks before the planned opening in June, developers revealed serious problems with fire-safety systems in the terminal.

Subsequent reviews of the project revealed that the airport needed extensive work before it could be put into operation, and the opening date was pushed back at least to October 2013.

This work - plus an unexpected need to improve noise protection - has generated substantial additional costs, amounting to €1.2 billion, and the airport's management company is "unable to finance these" through its internal resources, says the European Commission.

The financing will be provided by a capital injection from the public owners of the airport, but the Commission says the plan does not breach state-aid rules.

"Since the intervention would be made on terms that a private investor operating under normal market conditions would accept, it does not involve any state aid," the Commission says.

It believes the equity value of the airport management company, FBB, would be "positive and higher" than the €1.2 billion to be injected.

"Moreover, stress tests have showed that this would even be true under pessimistic business assumptions," the Commission adds.