Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens after 14 years of construction

Photo: © Günter Wicker/ Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg

Berlin Brandenburg Airport has finally opened its doors and welcomed the first arrivals after 14 years of construction.

The new airport for the German capital started construction back in 2006 and was, at the time, due to open in 2011. After several delays caused by thousands of issues, it is now operative under the IATA-code ‘BER’. Its launch comes despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic that is affecting air travel around the world. Germany is introducing new travel restrictions on Monday, November 2nd.

On Saturday at about 2 pm local time, it was inaugurated with German flag-carrier Lufthansa coming from Munich and low-cost carrier EasyJet arriving from Berlin Tegel. Lufthansa created a special livery for the occasion. Its Airbus A320neo, which flew to BER from Munich, received ‘Hauptstadtflieger’ (‘capital aircraft’) titles.

It was originally planned that the two airlines would perform a parallel landing, however this was called off due to bad visibility. The aircraft therefore landed one after another, with EasyJet being the first to touch down. Both flights had a limited number of passengers on board, including the CEO’s of the respective companies, Carsten Spohr and Johan Lundgren.

On Sunday morning, the first departures left Berlin Brandenburg. The first flight was EasyJet U28210 to London Gatwick, which took off at 6:45 am local time. Over the course of the day, 23 flights departed BER’s Terminal 1 with about 3,000 passengers on board in total.

Last weekend, the former Schoenefeld Airport, which shares a location with the new airport, was renamed and became ‘Terminal 5’ of BER. At the same time, the new train station for the new Terminal 1 and 2 complex was opened. Earlier this month, Berlin Airport had completed a long series of operational test runs, including evacuation tests.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is officially named after former German chancellor Willy Brandt. It will replace Berlin Tegel Airport, which is closing next weekend, on November 8th.

Read more: Berlin Brandenburg and Tegel start into transitional week