Much-delayed Brandenburg Airport prepares shops ahead of grand opening

By Luke Barras-hill |

Passengers will discover more than 20,000sq m of retail and F&B space at Terminal 1. Source: Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH.

Nearly all shopping and F&B outlets at Berlin Brandenburg ‘Willy Brandt’ Airport (BER) will open on 1 November – the first day of flight departures.

Many of the retail facilities expect to be ready in time for the airport’s official launch on 31 October, ahead of full operations the next day.

A partner day for shops and restaurants will take place on 2 November to showcase international brands and concepts across more than 20,000sq m of commercial space, with one hundred rental spaces and 11 mobile catering units present at Terminal 1.

Operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), which operates Berlin Schönefeld and Berlin Tegel Airports, will run three lounges with another to be operated by Lufthansa.

‘READY AGAINST ALL ODDS’

The opening of the airport, originally planned for 2012, has been beset by numerous delays.

In a statement, the airport says preparations for the opening are ‘making very good progress’, having addressed final preparations at a supervisory board meeting on Friday 9 October.

The airport was granted its final operational licence on 1 October and Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) trial operations are due to finish as planned on 15 October after 47 weeks of testing.

BER will begin hosting government flights on the 21 October, one-and-a-half weeks before the official opening.

Flight rehearsals for easyJet ahead of the opening of the airport on 31 October. Source: Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH/ Günter Wicker.

Thereafter, guests of the state will be received in Schönefeld next to Terminal 5.

During the meeting on 9 November, the Supervisory Board decided on its economic strategy for 2021 although future development is fraught with uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic.

FBB will continue to rely on help from shareholders in the coming 12 months to secure the liquidity of the airport’s operations, it confirmed in a statement.

Shareholder loans amounting to up to €522 million/$616 million have been agreed by the board for the coming year.

The airport operator expects to handle a mere 10 million passengers in 2020, versus almost 36 million in 2019.

BER received its final operating licence on 1 October. Left to right: Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg joins other officials. Source: Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH/ Günter Wicker.

Rainer Bretschneider, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said: “BER is ready for operation. Against all odds, we achieved our goal. Thank you to everyone who fought alongside us and believed in us. Now we face the new challenge of coping with the financial problems caused by the coronavirus crisis.”

Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH added: “In three weeks, we will finally have a modern airport which will give an important economic boost to the whole of eastern Germany. Now it’s a question of also getting a fair chance in international competition and securing air rights for flights to Asia.

“In order to make the German economy as successful as before the pandemic in all regions or the country, we need three international airports in Germany which offer an intercontinental connection. Two airports in the west of the country is not enough.”

Stay close to TRBusiness for more on Berlin Brandenburg Airport’s retail developments…

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