LONDON – Almost a year and a half after the opening of the new capital airport, Berlin Brandenburg (BER), all newly built buildings will be operational as of 24th March 2022. Operators are opening Terminal 2 for the first time, preparing for increasing passenger numbers in the summer.
CEO of Berlin Brandenburg Airport Aletta von Massenbach said: “Terminal 2 is part of our preparation for the normalization of air traffic. We expect 17 million passengers for 2022.”
The building is also needed because handling in the main terminal under COVID-19 conditions takes significantly longer than planned. During the autumn holidays, this had led to chaos for days. Passengers missed their flights.
Restrictions are still not excluded, as von Massenbach made clear. There were not enough staff at all points in the process chain. It had to be assumed that patience and time would be required on a case-by-case basis.
Last year, BER counted almost ten million passengers. Before the COVID-19 crisis, there were around 36 million passengers at Berlin’s Tegel and Schönefeld airports in 2019.
Nobody expected this when BER construction began in 2006. Construction defects, planning errors and technical problems delayed the opening by nine years – while passenger numbers in Berlin continued to rise. Therefore, the Terminal 2 was added to the BER comparatively quickly, but then was not needed at first. The airport opened in 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Terminal 2 was built in simple industrial construction. The main and temporary sole user will be Ryanair. From Thursday it handles departures there, from the beginning of April also arrivals. “The T2 is something that stands for speed”, said airport manager von Massenbach. “It’s fast, it’s compact and functional.” An opening ceremony is not planned.
BER also includes the terminal of the old Schönefeld Airport, which is just over two kilometres away from the new buildings. It operates today as Terminal 5. Currently it ́s used as an emergency shelter for refugees from Ukraine.
For the time being, the BER is getting by with Terminals 1 and 2, as von Massenbach said. “What they can do is enough for the next few years.” The airport company is not targeting the pre-crisis level of 36 million passengers until 2025. In the case of normal handling processes, this could also be done in the new terminals.