Revised plan aims to speed Brandenburg airport opening

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Shareholders are to provide €650 million ($850 million) to fund the work required to open the troubled Berlin Brandenburg airport.

The figure - of which an initial tranche of €192 million was provided in January - has been disclosed as the new chief executive, Hartmut Mehdorn, outlined an action plan, designated Sprint, to the airport's supervisory board.

Sprint is intended to "ensure a swift and reliable opening", the airport operator says, and will require changes of processes and personnel to "accelerate" the programme.

It will be run from a dedicated project office and bring together the remaining construction work, approvals, trial runs and the opening plan. Sprint also involves setting up a centre of competence to oversee the technical aspects of the programme.

"Remaining work at [Brandenburg] will be divided up into 20 to 30 modules," says Mehdorn. "Our technical centre of competence will rely on both internal and external know-how, and we will talk to everyone who can make a positive contribution to the swift opening of [the airport]."

Sprint will also incorporate all training for transfer and operational readiness.

Supervisory board chairman Matthias Platzeck says the new plan is the "right decision" for the airport, which has been substantially delayed by last-minute problems, particularly with its safety systems.

Since Mehdorn's appointment, he says, the operator is "clearly noticing that things are moving forward".

Germany's federal government has provided €50 million of the first tranche, with the other €142 million split equally between the local administrations of Berlin and Brandenburg.

Operations at Berlin's current airports - Tegel and Schonefeld, due to be succeeded by Brandenburg - will be overseen by a new head of operations, Elmar Kleinert.