Financial News

  • 1 March 2013, 16:17

Berlin's New Airport Can't Switch Lights Off

Berlin's troubled new airport has been plagued with delays and now has a fresh technical hang-up - no-one can turn the lights off.

While the German capital has experienced one of the bleakest winters on record, there is no lack of light in Schonefeld where the new airport is being built.

The terminal lights burn around the clock because the workers on site have no means to switch them off, officials have confessed.

"It has to do with the fact that we haven't progressed far enough with our lighting system that we can control it," Horst Amann, the airport's technical director, told Spiegel Online.

Planned to replace Tegel and Schonefeld airports in 2011, Berlin Brandenburg Airport - also to be known as Willy Brandt Airport - has been under construction since September 2005.

But a catalogue of technical glitches, design errors and concerns about safety equipment has delayed its opening to the point where officials dare not give a date for its completion for fear of another deadline being broken.

"I will only name a date when I can take responsibility for it," added Mr Amann.

The cost of the project has also risen from around 2bn euros (1.7bn) to 4.3bn euros (3.7bn) - almost double the initial estimate.

The latest glitch has attracted widespread scorn in the German media.

When it eventually opens, the airport is expected to handle up to 27 million passengers a year.

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