Berlin airports operator FBB is insisting that the new Brandenburg hub will open on time, even if the coronavirus crisis disrupts trial runs prior to the inauguration.

The operator says the 31 October opening date will be “strictly adhered to”, but it acknowledges that there are aspects of the testing which need consideration in order to maintain the deadline.

“It will be possible to cope with reduced or postponed individual trial runs,” it states, given the expected lower-than-forecast traffic volumes.

Passenger numbers at its Tegel and Schonefeld airports are currently down by some 75%, it states, and is likely to fall further.

As a consequence, FBB says it will be “temporarily dependent” on financial aid, and has discussed the matter with its shareholders – although it has yet to assess the extent of any assistance.

“Our income situation has deteriorated sharply in the last three weeks,” says chief executive Engelbert Daldrup. “We have to make massive cost savings and reduce operating expenses.”

He says the company is subjecting all investments, expenses and appointments to “close scrutiny”, adding that reductions in working hours are necessary.

“We must face the additional challenges of the corona crisis, which will place even greater demands on us in terms of human resources and finances than ever before,” says FBB supervisory board chair Rainer Bretschneider.

But he points out that the company has agreed a business plan to take the company beyond Brandenburg’s opening, budgeting a total of €792 million in funding for 2021-24. Half of this figure will be sourced from shareholders, the rest from the financial markets.