The Germans no longer know whether to laugh or cry. Construction of the future Berlin International Airport, southeast of the city, has once again been suspended until further notice. This time the cause is the main terminal roof, which is threatening to collapse under its own weight. This latest structural problem is the umpteenth in an interminable saga that has been making big headlines for nearly twenty years.
Lorenz Maroldt, Editor of Tagesspiegel: "We don’t even know if this airport will ever be completed. Each day of delay costs a million euros, which means that the current budget, of 5.8 billion euros, will not be enough to finish the airport."
Begun in 1996, the construction site has since accumulated numerous setbacks: a faulty fire protection system, bad connection cables, not to mention cases of corruption. The result being that when everything was ready, or almost, the inauguration has been postponed four times in three years.
"In 2012, they tried to open the airport. There was enormous political pressure to meet deadlines. The management, at the time said, ‘No matter how, this thing has to open’ - and that’s when all the problems began" explains the German journalist.
Despite our requests, we have been unable to obtain any comment from the political authorities. Even if they hope to finally open the new Berlin International Airport in two years’ time, bringing about the closure of Berlin’s two other airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, the problem is that from day one, the building will be too small, since it was designed to accommodate 24 million passengers per year - far from the 33 million expected in 2017.