SCEINCE

How Berlin Brandenburg Airport became one of the biggest engineering failures

If you haven’t heard of Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), you are not alone. The opening of the airport, which was once scheduled for October 2011, was mired in scandal and incompetence, leaving the structure with little support for the traffic it could handle.

During its planned first opening, inspectors inspect the airport reported about 120,000 defects, including fire safety problems and about 170,000 kilometers (106,000 miles) of cable installed in and around the airport, which was dangerously connected. In fact, everything seems to have gone wrong for BER.

It took more than nine years to solve the airport’s problems, and in October 2020, officials announced it was ready to take off. But its success came at a worrying moment: the coronavirus pandemic significantly reduced travel around the world, leaving the airport relatively empty.

What’s worse is that the airport has given a bad reputation to the once famous brand Made in-Germany. BER is already an incompetent public administration and poor financial management, leading to the failure of large projects.

What went so wrong with the airport? “The supervisory board was full of politicians who had no idea how to control the project,” said Prof. Genia Kostka of the Free University of Berlin. he said BBC. “They were responsible for the key decisions.”

Some may say that the project was doomed from the beginning. It all started in 1990, and it took the developers six years to settle on the construction site. Then the official championship took another decade to make it happen.

With more and more problems, private investors disappeared, leaving the state to finance and monitor the construction itself. The global financial crisis in 2007-08 made it difficult to attract a contractor to build and finance the airport.

At that point, the project had to be stopped, but politicians continued to use public money. This caused the initial opening to be delayed again and again.

But maybe everything is fine, which ends well. BER finally opened to commercial traffic 14 years after construction began and 29 years after official planning. Today the scandalous airport will become the third busiest in Germany, ahead of Dusseldorf Airport.





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