New BER boss: “We want to become a normal airport”

Schönefeld (dpa) – After years of delays, building scandals and breakdowns at the capital airport BER, the new boss, Aletta von Massenbach, wants to steer the company in a quieter direction.

«What is important to me: that I make a contribution that a certain trust and reliability in the work of the airport company is created again, “said the 52 – year-old of the German press agency. “We want to become a normal airport.” This includes “talking and explaining a lot.”

The previous CFO will take over overall management at BER on Friday and will replace Engelbert Lütke Daldrup in this position. Lütke Daldrup put BER into operation last autumn with a delay of around nine years and is now retiring Main terminal T1 in operation. Terminal T2, which has also been completed, has not yet been used due to the low level of occupancy and will remain closed. However, things are not running completely smoothly on T1 either. “A few things also have to be readjusted,” said von Massenbach. “One thing is the vestibule at the train station that it got very cold there in winter – we have to tackle that.”

In addition, fire alarms can be triggered depending on the amount of sunlight. “The treadmills in the main pier have already worked, but no longer work – these are things that have to be solved.” Von Massenbach also admitted in the “Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung” that more space for the security checks would have been desirable “so that more people can be processed in parallel”. “We don’t have the space for that now.”

The new boss takes over a company in crisis: Passenger numbers fell during the corona pandemic, BER is heavily in debt and is making heavy losses. After a record number of around 36 million passengers a year 2019 at Berlin Airports, those responsible hope for the current year that at least ten million people will fly over BER.

Airport dependent on billions in aid

«The fact remains that we would like that. But we don’t see that we will achieve that safely, ”said von Massenbach. “We may end the year with a little under ten million.” The Berlin-Brandenburg Airport Company is therefore dependent on billions in aid from its owners, the federal government and the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg. “We want to finally get the company on a healthy financial path, so that the company has degrees of freedom to implement its future tasks,” said von Massenbach.

This includes, for example, the best possible connection between the capital region and the world . However, she does not see that BER will become a large international hub like Frankfurt or Munich in the foreseeable future. “We have very, very good coverage in Europe, but we have no connectivity to the world beyond,” said the new boss. Most of the airlines flying at BER are not “hub airlines”. “Of course, we wouldn’t mind if someone set up a hub here, and we could also map that into the infrastructure. But it is not on the way now. »

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