Berlin Brandenburg (BER) Airport

Berlin Brandenburg BER Airport Overview

Berlin Brandenburg International Airport BER is intended to be Germany's capital city's sole Airport, serving its Metropolitan area and outlying suburbs with over 6 million people.  Its official name will include the name of former Berlin mayor, then German Chancellor and Nobel Peace Laureate Willy Brandt.  Once in full service, the Airport is expected to the Germany's third largest airport (after Munich and Frankfurt).
    Berlin Brandenburg Airport is located in the town of Schoenefeld, County of Brandenburg, and is 18 km southeast of Berlin's city center.  It is situated to the south of the current Berlin Schoenefeld Airport and will use its southern runway along with some of its infrastructure. Autobahn A113 and the  B96a trunk road will have direct access to the new airport. Furthermore connecting trains from/to Berlin's Hauptbahnhof (major train depot) and the subway lead right into the the new passenger terminal's underground level.
    With 2 long runways, Berlin Brandenburg Airport is intended to be hub for Air Berlin, Germania, Easyjet, Germanwings and Lufthansa, and will be served by a multitude of domestic and international carriers offering direct and connecting flights to all points of the globe.
    While BER has been completed many months ago, repeated problems have arisen and the opening has been postponed several times. As a consequence, both Tegel TXL and Schoenefeld SXF airports are still in operation - indeed, Berlin Airports' operator had invested 10-20 million Euros for upgrades to both airports.  

The new Brandenburg Airport (BER) had been completed  in Fall 2011; the lengthy trial period of checking and approving started thereafter - resulting in the discovery of serious fire hazards, which were downplayed while official opening was set for June 2012. A month before opening, an independent expert assessment found over 150,000 defects (incl. 85 serious ones), which dictated postponement of opening day. Thereafter, more and more projects were requested to be added, and opening day was again and again moved forward. (A Tour Bus runs to the site, while its tour leader revels in itemizing BER's setbacks).  Many carreers ended as a result of mismanagement.  However, the new Man-in-Charge (Mr. Muhlenfeld) started basically from scretch in 2014, and insisted on a 6-day work week with two shifts, in order to reach official opening by 'second half of 2017' . Meanwhile Schonefeld Airport Terminal B's
check-in and security control space is being extended between 2016 /2017.  A monkey wrench was thrown into the projected 2017 opening with the disclosure that commuter trains get simulated up to a speed of 100 km/h when entering or leaving the station. Thus it will take more time to simulate the exact solution for the underground railway station. Also an EU request for more money may fall on death ears.  Wiki reports that opening now would not be before late 2018, if not early 2019!

Completed by June 2015:
  Two 14,000 sq.meter pavillions at north & south sides of the terminal house 8 security lanes each, with 12 check-in counters connected to the baggage handling system. The South Pavillion is getting an added 'premium check-in' facility. 
In Sept. 2015 FBB GmbH (the operator of Berlin Airports), presented 4 separate projects, to be completed between 2017 & 2023: 
- Project 1
Schonefeld Airport (SXF)  will get the following improvements between 2016 & 2017:  Extension of Terminal B for for check-in and security control space; new Terminal F (west of TD). Landside improvement for coach parking & taxi ranks adaptation to increasing capacitis and current indoor carpark upgrades.
- Project 2At both SXF & BER airports - development of aircraft movement areas to maximize taxiing traffic during parallel operations, including plans for construction of 'several aprons & taxiways'.
- Project 3FBB starts plans for BER airport infrastructure involving supply & disposal adapted to rising capacities.
- Project 4FBB commences plans for BER's new low-cost terminal (as an extension of the north pier) with all processes & facilities independent of the BER terminal. It is to have its own approach, a multi-level carpark and a taxi rank.

[ After BER's opening, the original plan was to close both Schonefeld & Tegel airports.  It is presently assumed that Schoenefeld Airport will close after airline transfer and opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport - and that  Berlin Tegel Airport will close some time later after airline transfer - or may continue to be used for certain flights only. ]

The Passenger terminal as of June 2012, when it was to officially open:
   The new passenger terminal at Berlin Brandenburg Airport is located between the northern and southern runways. It has 25 jet bridges and 85 apron parking positions. Its main pier is 715 meters long  (north & south  piers: 350 meters each) and has 16 doubledecker jet bridges with separate arrivals/departures levels:
- Level 1 is for Schengen passengers - using gates A01-A20 & B01-B20;
- level 2 is for non-Schengen passengers - using gates C01-19 & D01-D17;  Lufthansa & AirBerlin lounges are on level 2;
- level 3 houses Air Baltic & Oneworld lounges.
- level Z - used for high-risk U.S. & Israel flights - uses gates A21-22 & B21 & D07.
The Departures level (level 1) has 8 check-in clusters with 94 check-in desks, four of which are for First-class Lufthansa passengers. The center has additional check-in desks and 108 self-service machines. (Ticket desks for Lufthansa & Air Berlin area also on level 2)
  The Pier (Concourse) has three levels - each level has a main pier flanked on each side by north and south piers:
- The South pier is reserved for Air Berlin with nine jet bridges for Schengen traffic (gates A30-38)
- The North pier does not have jet bridges and caters to low-cost airlines (gates B30-B45).
- Pier level 0 houses on the Main Pier A gates A12-15, 24-25 and  B gates B12-15-, 24-25;  on the North Pier  B gates B30-45.
- Pier level 1 houses the main hall leading to Main Pier with A gates A01-17, 20-22 and B gates B1-10 & 17-21;  the South Pier has A gates A22Z and A30-38
- Pier level 2 houses on the Main Pier C gates C1-19;  and D gates D01-17.
Parking options at Berlin Brandenburg Airport: Four multi-storey carparks offer over 10,000 parking spaces - they are part of the new BER Airport City occupying over 40 acres and located 'directly a the terminal complex'  and including hotels,  restaurants & retailers.
The new Rental Car Center is located in the BER Airport city, housing major rental car agencies.
To get from the Airport to your destination, you can rent a car, take a taxi, a bus, the subway or the ICE train: 
  - By Bus: (a) The 'Airport Express' runs every 30 mins to Berlin's city railway system RE7 & RB14, and the 'Sukreuz' train station hub RE9.   (b)  Express Buses X7 & X11 run every five minutes connecting the Airport with U-Bahn Rudow and underground line U7. The X11 bus continues to Lichterfelde-West and on to Dahlem.
  - By Train: The subterranean train station in the passenger terminal features four long-distance and two subway tracks. Long-distance travelers can transfer to ICE  or local trains at Berlin's Hauptbahnhof (Central Station).   The Inter-Citi Express & InterCity will connect the Airport to Bielefeld, Hannover, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Halle & Wolfsburg. EuroCity trains connect to Poland, The Netherlands & Czech Republic.
Subway line S9 serves the northern public transit ring; subway line S45 the southern ring.

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