Today it is day No. 3000. This is the exact delay, which BER, the new Berlin Airport, runs today. The Tagesspiegel, Berlin’s leading paper, publishes the number daily. Just for the fun of it. The airport should be operating for years. I am glad it is not. So is everyone else, I know. Because with BER opening, Tegel airport is set to close. We all love Tegel airport.
Even sweetheart’s school friend, who lives in Wedding, right underneath the usually hundreds of planes per day landing and taking off at Tegel. Whereas we as visitors find the noise of jets thundering a few meters overhead deafening, they seem to have gotten used to it. To the contrary: now that Covid grounded most flights, they don’t sleep so well. Missing the noise.
And for the Northern half of Berlin, the “soon to be opened” (the next, set date for the Grand Opening is October 31st, 2020) Willy Brand Airport to the south of Berlin, short BER, is way out of our way. In our case almost an hours drive away, if unhalted. As opposed to 12 Minutes to Tegel airport.
Not talking of the difficulties in public transport. After all this delay, with many an opening fortold but never held, the public transport connection from the city to the airport is still a nightmare. No underground, rail- or tramway directly docking at the airport, one has to switch to buses or walk a kilometer to the airport from the last train station in town. Quite uncomfortable with luggage. The taxi service also questionable, as the airport is technically at Brandenburg soil, beyond citiy limits. Thus all of the 4000 or so Berlin taxi drivers are not allowed to go there to pick fares up. They can bring people, but then would have to return empty back into town. The same goes for the Brandenburg taxi drivers the other way round. I hope at least there will be a solution for this stupidity problem somewhere in the near future. There has to be. As the traffic situation on Berlin’s motorway leading to the airport is already desperate. Add the 10.000 vehicles, that shuttle airport traffic per day, you will have a complete collapse. Add to that thousands of empty cabs returning and you will have a failed city. Not to speak of the pollution caused by this administration-made insanity.
Until now, half the traffic is south bound to Schönefeld airport (located right next to the new BER terminal), the other half flows north to Tegel.
But good old Tegel, overflowing until a small virus turned the world upside down, is set to be closed for good end of October 2020. And BER to finally open after years of delay and already far too small for the regular amount of traffic from and to Berlin. I think it smart of the BER guys to try to open this year with next to no airtraffic going on. At least operations won’t collapse immediately in a terminal never going to work properly. We all heard the stories of escalators ending short, the smoke funnels designed to suck the smoke down instead of up and out (never functioned) and all the other failure stories galore. Most likely, the opening will be held in the provisional alu-box terminal #2 stepped up meanwhile, in order to have anything functioning, come Oct. 31st.
However, a huge part of me wishes them to fail. They are used to this, so they should not mind all that much. Time and again they had to cancel a scheduled opening. Time after time a politician or CEO had to take to resign, after postponing yet another fixed opening date.
I will gladly put up with all the Berlin bashing for incompetence with building projects, with all the jokes about other nations putting up airports in no time. If only they DON’T open BER this autumn. Giving Tegel airport another reprieve. 3000 more days, maybe? That would be just great….