After a year, BER Airport is still looking for a connection

Schönefeld (dpa) – First emptiness in lockdown, then holiday chaos in autumn: For passengers and employees, the first year of operation of the new capital city airport was a year of extremes.

“So far, BER not a single day of normalcy, as we know it from before the pandemic, ”said airport manager Aletta von Massenbach.

Eight million passengers have used the new terminal so far – a year 2019 there were more than four times as many in Berlin. New connections should bring more momentum in the next year. A better connection to the world, that is also what the companies in the region are counting on.

Building scandal

After an unprecedented building scandal with many difficulties, the airport at 31. October 2020 opened – nine years later than planned. During the waiting period, the economy ran with the handbrake on, said Stefan Franzke, head of the Berlin Partner development company. After the pandemic, things really have to get going. That Tesla has its car factory for up to 12. 000 employees in Brandenburg building near BER gives hope to the region.

Brandenburg’s economic developer Steffen Kammradt expects a surge in growth. “For a global company like Tesla, an international airport on the doorstep with direct connections to other continents is a big plus for the location.” But there are only a few of them at BER. Too often business people first have to fly to Frankfurt or Munich and then change there if they wanted to go to Berlin, so it is said again and again from the economy to Mallorca and Antalya. Direct connections in business centers outside Europe are rare. New York and Washington will be on the flight schedule next year. “We hope for more long-distance connections in all directions,” said von Massenbach.

When construction began, Berlin and Brandenburg had up to 40. 000 prospect of new direct and indirect jobs around the airport. According to the Brandenburg Economic Development Agency, the airport had the hoped-for job effects even before it opened. In a radius of 30 kilometers from 2013 to 2020 around 45. 000 Jobs were created.

Whether that was always related to the airport can be determined however difficult to say. The number of people in employment has generally risen sharply in the same period, by just under 290 across Berlin according to official statistics. 000, in Brandenburg around good 37. 000.

“In the first year of BER 70 airlines started to more than 160 destinations,” said von Massenbach. Before Corona, there were destinations at the old Tegel and Schönefeld 195 airports. Those in charge are also still working on getting rid of its teething troubles in the terminal.

“There are still one or the other technical problem, for example the defective treadmill,” said von Massenbach. “We also need more seating in the terminal.” The airport boss spoke of readjustments that are also being made with other objects of comparable size, such as a new train station or shopping center.

“We will also continue to improve passenger processes,” she assured her. There had been chaotic conditions in the terminal during the autumn break. Personnel bottlenecks and more complex check-ins in the pandemic had led to long waiting times in front of the counters at BER. Some passengers even missed their flights.

Signs have now been improved, and in future passengers in queuing areas will also be better informed about waiting times. Passengers expected a perfectly functioning airport, said von Massenbach. “Most of the passengers in the last 12 months have experienced a BER that works as well as is possible under Corona conditions.”

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