Berlin’s newly opened Brandenburg Airport is currently operating at around 10 percent, in terms of passenger numbers, compared to the previous year. Four weeks into operations, it is now taking further action to reduce expenses.
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the operator of Berlin’s only airport, has confirmed a number of short-term measures it will introduce amid continued significantly reduced traffic due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In early 2021, Berlin Brandenburg Airport (IATA: BER) will close its Terminal 5 for at least one year and move all operations to Terminal 1. A specific date for the beginning of the temporary shutdown has not been communicated by the airport. Terminal 5 previously served as the terminal of Berlin Schoenefeld Airport (IATA: SXF), which formally closed on October 25th, and is used primarily by low-cost carriers, including Ryanair and Wizz Air.
The new airport had already delayed the opening of Terminal 2, originally planned to be inaugurated together with Terminal 1, to 2021. The second newly built terminal has already finished construction, but the airport operator opted to keep it closed until at least the beginning of the 2021 summer season to save running costs. It was not immediately clear whether the planned introduction in spring will take place as planned, as BER is now projecting even lower passenger numbers.
Berlin Brandenburg expects to serve only about 9 million travellers over the coming year, less than a third compared to normal times. Terminal 1 alone has a capacity of up to 28 million passengers per year and would therefore most likely be sufficient for 2021.
Furthermore, the airport now plans to temporarily close its new southern runway, which was inaugurated on November 4th, “as soon as possible“. It is not needed for the current amount of aircraft movements. This leaves the German capital with only one active airport runway for the first time since the 1920s (excluding the Second World War).
Earlier this month, Berlin Tegel Airport (IATA: TXL) was permanently closed after 60 years of commercial passenger operations, with Air France carrying out the final departure.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.