Berlin airports temporarily dependent upon financial help   

(Photo: FBB)

Against the backdrop of the global coronavirus crisis and a collapse in flight operations, the supervisory board of the future Berlin Brandenburg Airport (IATA: BER) met on March 19 to discuss its post-opening development and the wider aviation crisis.

A statement from the airport operator, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FFB), said the 2020 business plan, showing the BER airport company’s long-term financing plans “far beyond the opening of BER” was agreed upon. The figures show that €792 million of funding is budgeted for 2021 to 2024. Half of that figure will be raised via the financial market with the rest being provided by the shareholders.

However, with regard to the current situation at Tegel and Schönefeld Airports, the executive board reported a massive decline in passenger numbers, currently (March 19) by 75%. It said a further drop in air traffic is expected in the coming days. In this respect, the executive board emphasised that the airports “are system-relevant infrastructures that play an important role in providing a stable basic service for the capital region, particularly during the coronavirus crisis.”

FFB said that within the context of the current crisis it “will be temporarily dependent on financial aid” due to the massive decline in traffic. It said the ongoing situation was being discussed and that its shareholders were aware, but the uncertainty that lies ahead means that specific aid figures cannot be decided upon for the time being.

The executive board also said that the work on Terminal 1, along with the elimination of the remaining cable defects, has progressed well. FBB expects to receive the necessary regulatory approval, that will clear the terminal for use, in April.

The airport is to push ahead with the system trials that need to be carried out to meet the October 31 opening date.

Prof Dr -Ing. Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO of FBB, commented: “The corona crisis is a blow to the FBB. Our income situation has deteriorated sharply in the last three weeks. For this reason, we have to make massive cost savings and reduce operating expenses. This means that every new appointment, every investment, every expense is under close scrutiny. Reduced working hours are necessary. A good airport infrastructure will be more important than ever before once the corona crisis has been overcome. We will work with all our strength on this and the commissioning on 31 October 2020.”