Andrej Jeziorski/MUNICH

THE GERMAN Federal Government and the Berlin and Brandenburg local governments have opted to develop Schonefeld Airport as the site of the proposed new Berlin hub.

The DM10 billion ($6.8 billion) expansion plan was favoured, on cost grounds, over a proposal to build a new airport at Sperenberg, 46km (30 miles) from the city. The development is to be funded entirely by private investors.

The plan is expected to receive final approval on 24 June from the supervisory board of Berlin Brandenburg Airport Holding (BBF).

Schonefeld Airport now has a single, 3,000m (10,000ft), runway, which will be extended to 3,600m. A second, 4,000m, runway will also be built, at a distance of 2km from the first and operating in parallel with it. A new terminal is to be built next to the existing railway station. The expansion plan should increase the airport's annual passenger capacity from 4 million people to around 20 million, and there is potential for a further increase with the construction of a third, 2,000m, runway.

Today, the Berlin airports of Schonefeld, Tegel and Tempelhof offer a total passenger capacity of some 15.5 million people, and the three handled 11.2 million passengers in 1995.

With Berlin once more becoming Germany's capital, passenger traffic is expected to reach 15 million by 2000.

Current plans are to close the small city airport of Tempelhof around the turn of the century. This will be followed by the closure of Tegel as soon as the expanded Schonefeld airport is ready to become operational, which is scheduled for 2007.

Source: Flight International