Berlin Brandenburg Airport has undergone all preparations for a successful commissioning. All permits have been granted, all processes have been tested extensively and the process partners are best prepared for the opening as they could possibly be.
The airport community’s employees and process partners (airlines, federal police, customs, ground handling service providers, etc.) have been preparing for BER’s opening since January. The employees have helped run trial operations every Tuesday and Thursday since April. In June, around 400 extras a day took part. Roughly 120 employees from the logistics team coordinated the extras, luggage and catering. During 27 trial days, a total of 24,000 employees and 9,897 extras got to know BER. Around 179,000 items of prop luggage and 54,000 bookings for 2,350 flights all contributed to a realistic airport experience.
The extras have left some valuable feedback following their tests. The most criticised points are already being worked upon during the ongoing trial run. This way, many improvements will have already been implemented once operations begin. The rubbish bins were made bigger, the signage was adjusted, missing clocks were displayed and charging ports for mobiles were procured.
Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, Chief Executive Officer for Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: “We have thoroughly prepared ourselves for the commissioning. The main aim of our trial run has been achieved: from the completed building, we have produced a fully functional airport. The users and partners can get acquainted with their airport and become confident in handling the new systems. Despite corona, the motivation to take part in the trial run and training was very high. For this, I would like to thank all of our partners, the ORAT Team, and the volunteer extras sincerely. We can put BER into operation on 31st October with a clear conscience.”
Terminal 1 of BER will open on 31st October with a parallel landing from Lufthansa and easyJet. That same evening, further aircraft will arrive at Terminal 1, which will then start again on 1st November. On BER’s first full day of operation (01.11.20), around 6,000 passengers are expected at T1 and roughly 5,000 at T5, the former Schönefeld Airport. The second phase will take place from 3rd to 4th November. On 4th November, the southern runway will open. On this day, around 6,000 passengers are expected at T1 and almost 5,000 passengers at T5. The last move will take place from 7th to 8th November, when the last airlines will leave Tegel Airport. Then, on 8th November, roughly 16,000 passengers will be checked in at T1 and almost 8,000 at T5. The numbers are actually significantly lower than would normally be expected in autumn due to the corona pandemic. The terminal capacities are by no means exhausted, even if the social distancing rules apply.
The poor numbers of flight guests mean that the processes at BER don’t have to run at full force right away. Should problems arise on the first day, enough reserves are available in order to react to any disturbances quickly. In addition, a situation centre is to be set up for commissioning, in which the operative areas of the airport community, as well as the airlines, ground handling services, federal and state police, security service providers, customs and German air traffic control, are integrated. Here, the current situation can be evaluated and the usual airport control centres supported, if necessary.