Germany: Volunteers test Berlin's new airport ahead of long-delayed opening

Berlin's new Willy Brandt airport (BER) is carrying out tests with volunteers ahead of its long-delayed inauguration on October 31, as seen on Thursday. «We are close to the opening of BER, we open in three months on October 31. Then we will move the whole air traffic from Tegel in steps. Easyjet will do the start and in the last step Lufthansa will move to BER. The building is finished, all the scrutiny processes for the building were done and we have got the green light from the authorities in April,» said Engelbert Luke Daldrup, CEO of BER Airport. Volunteers could be seen doing check-in for virtual flights and claiming their luggage at a baggage carousel. Trial operations at the airport have been underway since the end of April, initially only with employees, then also with their friends and family members. Last week, the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport Company started using 400 volunteers every day to test the facilities together with around 600 employees. There is currently a cap of 1,000 people participating at once due to coronavirus concerns. «The infrastructure is completely finished and approved by the authorities, it was a laborious process. There were more than 200,000 flaws that we had to take care of. We were scrutinised for three years by auditors and authorities and now we have a building that's perfectly fine. Maybe it is the building that has been checked most thoroughly in Germany and we have a building now that is functioning very solidly,» Luke Daldrup said. Berlin-Brandenburg, which is adjacent to Berlin Schonefeld airport, was scheduled to start functioning in 2011. Construction problems and spiralling costs have delayed its opening.

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