ILA: Berlin Brandenburg airport may face delays

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Berlin's airports operator Berliner Flughafen admits a delay to the opening of Brandenburg International airport is an option being considered after new European security requirements forced a rethink on the central terminal design.

Brandenburg International is due to open in October 2011. But the operator is also facing pressure from the project co-ordinator, which has questioned the feasibility of keeping to the schedule after the bankruptcy of an engineering partner tasked with technical services planning for the terminal.

Both issues will be discussed this month by the supervisory board of Berliner Flughafen, which says it is "seeking solutions that are in line with the project's timeframe and budget". But during the International Air Transport Association annual general meeting in Berlin, at which the new airport is being showcased, the operator conceded that a postponement was being "considered".

While neither of the two problematic issues was seen as time-critical in March, a recent federal law enforcement assessment of new European security regulations concluded that the larger systems required by April 2013 will affect the terminal design.

"We first thought this was a minor problem," says the operator. "But in fact it's more complicated because all the architecture of the central terminal has to be adapted to the new security situation." Preliminary indications suggest the security area needs to be twice the size planned.

The airport's current design would meet European requirements if it opened next year. "But the problem might be that, one or two days afterwards, construction would have to start again," says the operator.