Well, you have to hand it to Berlin for persistence. The first flight at its new airport is scheduled — not until next October, but, hey, it's progress.
Berlin’s long-delayed airport finally has an opening date.
The German capital’s BER airport will have its inaugural flight on Oct. 31 next year, the operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said Friday on Twitter. That’s at least eight years behind schedule.
The story of BER is an embarrassing tale for Germany’s exalted engineering prowess. While construction started in 2006, its planned launch in June 2012 was scrapped a month before its unveiling because of fire safety issues, and has since been pushed back multiple times.
Defects had included automatic doors that lacked electricity, escalators that were too short, and a smoke-extraction system so complex, yet ineffective, it was dubbed “the Monster,” according to daily tabloid Bild.
Berlin desperately needs the new airport as Tegel and Schoenefeld, the city’s two existing airfields, are overflowing as an increasing number of tourists and business travelers flock to the city. The government in 2008 closed Tempelhof — the historic facility where Allied planes landed in the Berlin Airlift — and it plans to do the same with Tegel once BER begins operating.
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Photo credit: Berlin's new airport (pictured) has a scheduled flight, finally. Associated Press