It’s ready – the capital city BER airport before take-off

There must be millions, nothing works under that at BER. Anyone entering the new capital city airport pulls the trolley case on 20 million year old Jura limestone. Coins from all over the world are embedded in the noble floor. 5000 coins reproduce the starry sky, art in architecture. The BER – a heavenly treasure chest? Or is it a billion dollar grave?

In any case, it has become expensive, Germany’s third largest airport, at least six billion euros, three times as much as expected. It remains to be seen whether he will ever earn his costs. Because BER is really getting started – if nothing comes up, that goes without saying in Schönefeld.

Engelbert Lütke Daldrup has set the date: “We will open on October 31,” says the airport manager these days, takes a short break, smiles and continues: “2020”. After nine years of delay and six canceled appointments, the seventh could actually become the glorious one.

Nobody wants to talk about Gloria anymore. “We’ll just open up,” says Lütke Daldrup, without a party. Because the building drama on the outskirts of the German capital has made the country a laughing stock. “We German engineers were ashamed.”

That should be the past now. On October 31 at around 2 p.m., two Lufthansa and Easyjet planes landed in Schönefeld. Your passengers will be the first to enter the new terminal through the gates, explore the corridors, which are clad in fine walnut veneer.

Construction workers have scrawled some derogatory remarks on the concrete behind it. Through the ceiling grilles, passengers can see the traces of years of new building renovation in the network of pipes above. All cables that are not black came in after 2012.

Thousands of meters were redrawn so that the fire protection worked, the “monster” – the greatest of many shortcomings. The politically responsible screwed up BER in high spirits: without a general contractor, with gigantic rescheduling, with deadlines that were too tight, with the expulsion of the general planner after the failed opening in 2012.

Then years of intrigue, cockfights and lamentations. With contracts that let construction companies earn money from delays and not from progress. Years were wasted senselessly, well-known Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD). Germany shook its head at too short escalators, wrongly planted trees, untraceable rooms and lights that couldn’t be turned off.

“It was laborious, very detailed work,” says Lütke Daldrup. Three years ago, the urban planning engineer from the Berlin Senate Chancellery took up the post of airport manager – and initially postponed the opening for another two years.

In addition to the construction, the administrator also completed the work on the files, provided evidence and documentation, and obtained special permits for creative building solutions. Unlike his predecessors such as Manager-Raubein Hartmut Mehdorn, he did not turn politics against the airport company, but kept them at a distance.

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