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Opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)

After 9 years delay, Berlin´s new main airport “Berlin Brandenburg” (BER) openend on the 31st of October 2020. The airport was originally planned to open in October 2011, five years after starting construction in 2006 and replaces nearby Schönefeld as well the airports Tegel (8th of November 2020) and Tempelhof (already being closed in 2008). On 11 December 2009, the decision was made to honouring a person with a distinctive link to the city of Berlin and give the airport a second name – “Berlin Willy Brandt Airport”. Regular airlines they visiting BER daily are e.g. Lufthansa, Delta Airlines, KLM/Air France, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Egpytair, Wizz Air and some more. Major airlines are represented at BER are Eurowings, EasyJet and Ryanair which using BER as hub in East Germany.

Apart from this you might see some Charters or Freighters and also the German Government flights sometimes. The airport’s history is massively affected by the history of Berlin as Schönefeld became East-Germany after WW2 and that’s why the airport is quite old and was behind Tegel for a long time. The old Schönefeld Terminal are rebranded to BER Terminal 5 since 25 October 2020 and is scheduled to be operated until the inauguration of planned Terminal 3 by 2030.

The U-shaped main terminal building of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, named Terminal 1 and consisting of sections A, B (01-25), C and D was designed by gmp architects. They are the same company which designed the hexagonal Terminal A at Tegel Airport which opened in 1974. At BER the terminal sits between the two runways, creating a so-called midfield airport above the underground train station.

The terminal has four public levels designated 0, 1, 2 and 3. The check-in area of the new Terminal 1 is located in the public area at Level 1 and houses 118 counters organised in eight clusters, called check-in isles. Planners anticipate that a significant number of passengers will use the more than 100 self check-in machines that will be installed. Additionally, by May 2015 two extensions had been added to both sides of the main check-in area containing 12 more check-in counters and eight security lanes each to avoid overcrowding of the main hall. he airside area will be accessible only to ticketed and screened passengers. Securitas Germany will staff the 35 screening stations. BER is equipped with 25 jet bridges with another 85 aircraft stands on the apron. The boarding and arrival areas are divided into three piers with the main pier 715 metres (2,350 ft) long and the north and south piers at 350 metres (1,150 ft) each. The main pier contains 16 jet-bridges, all but one have two levels, thus separating arriving and departing passengers. Level 1 is intended for Schengen passengers (gates A01–A20, B01–B20), while Level 2 (gates C01–C19, D01–D17) is for non-Schengen passengers. Eight of the gates can accommodate wide-body aircraft and one gate has been designed to accommodate the Airbus A380.

The apron has sufficient space to allow installation of a dual jetway allowing a quick boarding and disembarking process. A mezzanine (Level Z) at gates A21–22 and B21 allows for additional pre-boarding security checks for high-risk flights to the United States and Israel. Lufthansa and Air France/KLM will operate airport lounges in the main pier which will also be open for passengers of the respective alliance partners. The south pier was reserved for near-exclusive use of defunct Air Berlin and its Oneworld partners. The south terminal contains nine single-storey jet bridges (gates A30–A38). The north pier features a more minimalist design compared to the other two piers. This is to meet the demands of low-cost carriers and has no jetbridges, but boarding gates (B30–45) with direct apron access. Major operators at Terminal 1 are easyJet, the Lufthansa Group, Air France, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines and Qatar Airways amongst others.

Plans for a separate low-cost airline terminal costing €200 million were released in March 2016. Construction for the now named Terminal 2 with section B (30-45) (which was originally constructed as part of Terminal 1) began in 2018 and finished in time in September 2020 to provide further capacity especially for low-cost carriers - Eurowings is supposed to operate their Berlin base out of Terminal 2. However due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the facility remains closed for the time being as the capacity is not needed for the foreseeable future.

Terminal 2 is constructed as a more basic departures and arrivals facility next to the Terminal 1 main building, directly connected with its northern pier to gain more check-in capacity while sharing the same airside areas.

Besides Eurowings Terminal 2 will be mainly used by Wizz Air alongside Norwegian Air Shuttle and others after its opening. Until then, those are handled in Terminals 1 and 5 for the time being.

The first flight to land at the new airport was a Lufthansa special service from Munich on 31 October 2020. Lufthansa applied a special "Hauptstadtflieger" (capital city flyer) sticker to the aircraft in celebration of the flight. The first departure from the new Terminal 1 will be an easyJet flight to London on 1 November 2020.

On the 4th of November 2020, Qatar Airways openend official as first international airline the new southern runway (07R/25L) with the landing of an Airbus A350 from Doha.

All photos are Copyright by Rogosz Photography


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