Scramble to rescue Berlin Airport construction schedule

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Managers overseeing the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport are preparing to examine the implications of a technical partner's bankruptcy, as well as tighter security requirements, on the planned opening date for the hub.

Project co-ordinator WSP CBP has formally told the Berlin airports operator, Berliner Flughafen, on 19 May that the insolvency of Mulheim-based engineering firm IGK-IGR in February poses a threat to the development schedule.

Mulheim-based IGK-IGR had been responsible for technical building services planning within the terminal building architecture consortium PG BBI.

Although the consortium has assured Berliner Flughafen - on the same day as WSP CBP's warning - that the loss of IGK-IGR would not compromise the schedule and the October 2011 opening date, the contradictory statements have generated concern enough for Berliner Flughafen to commission an immediate report on the situation.

The matter has been further complicated by newly-introduced European Union security regulations which will require larger passenger-screening systems by April 2013.

While neither issue was considered "time-critical" when initially discussed in March, says Berliner Flughafen, a federal law enforcement projection received on 25 May indicated that the security-screening area at Berlin Brandenburg would need to be twice the current planned size.

"This will create considerable space problems at the screening gates and will have a significant impact on the configuration of the [Brandenburg Airport] terminal," says the airport operator.

Berliner Flughafen says that this development will also be covered in the report. The operator is "seeking solutions that are in line with the project's timeframe and budget" and its supervisory board aims to make a decision on 25 June.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is being built on the site of Berlin Schonefeld and will replace the main Tegel and now-closed Tempelhof airports.