BER airport opens - nine years later than planned
Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) opened on Saturday. The airport's construction was marred by numerous fiascos and scandals and its inauguration, originally planned for 2011, was postponed six times, with the costs tripling to around six billion euros. So even before the pandemic there were no plans for a big inauguration ceremony. Europe's commentators are not inclined to celebrate, either.
An embarassing fiasco for Germany
The opening of the airport is no cause for celebration, according to Hospodářské noviny:
“Even the location is wrong, it's too close to the German capital whose stormy growth after reunification was not taken into account. The replacement of non-waterproof cables with waterproof ones was extremely expensive and time-consuming. The architect was negligent about planning shops despite their importance for the profitability of an airport. ... In short, there was a chaos that one would not have expected in Germany. No wonder the inauguration at the weekend was carried off without big celebrations. And anyway, the airport's management has completely different concerns now because air traffic is experiencing a crisis of unprecedented proportions due to the pandemic.”
Just a shame it's so ugly
La Repubblica's Berlin correspondent Tonia Mastrobuoni points to ugliness and problems with the infrastructure:
“If you take a tour of the new airport, you immediately see that the engineers at BER must have suffered from a mysterious kind of amnesia: for example, there are no escalators to get to the subway or the trains. Or rather, there are escalators going upwards but to go downwards you either have to take the lift or tumble down the escalators that lead upwards. ... And there is no shortage of other curiosities. For example the fact that such an ugly airport could be built in the most creative city in Europe. BER is a building made of glass and steel with relatively low ceilings and walnut floors. A 1990s-style design, critics said, but even in that glorious decade less repulsive buildings were to be seen.”