From its shiny and imposing appearance, every spectator would be forgiven for thinking Brandenberg airport could be the equivalent of London Heathrow.
But step inside to the check-in counter of the main terminal building and you have come to face a terrifying silence.
Berlin's supposed air traffic junction had to be completed into a big fanfare in 2012, about 21 years after it was initially planned as an ambitious project to unite the east and west of the city after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
But global infrastructure experts now call it a & # 39; national trauma & # 39; and an example of & # 39; how not to do it & # 39 ;.
Berlin Brandenberg Airport – which is expected to cost € 6 billion (£ 5.3 billion) – is currently empty, eight years after the work would be finished. Several design setbacks led to around 550,000 errors throughout the site that prevented the air travel hub from opening
Pristine check-in counters and lifts remain unused. The departure boards for the flight are on, but show journeys from other airports. In the chic airport hotel, a small team turns on the cranes and dust the dust to prevent the building from falling into disrepair.
There is a fully functioning train station under the terminal, but there is only one & # 39; ghost train & # 39; per day on the schedule, which is used to circulate air instead of picking up non-existent passengers.
But now the state-run company behind the airport has promised that Brandenberg (BER) will open its doors for passengers next year.
There is a fully functioning train station under the terminal, but there is only one & # 39; ghost train & # 39; per day on the schedule, which is used to circulate air instead of picking up non-existent passengers
The airport is located southeast of the capital of Germany, next to Schönefeld airport, where most of the budget air traffic to the city takes place
What went so wrong to cause an almost ten-year delay?
When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, one of the first priorities for uniting the two halves of a divided Germany was to refresh the infrastructure that was missing in the East.
The need for an airport was even mentioned by former US President Ronald Reagan in his famous & # 39; Tear down this wall & # 39; speech in Berlin, two decades before the ground was broken.
"To further open Berlin to the whole of Europe, East and West, let's extend vital air access to this city and find ways to make commercial air service to Berlin more convenient, comfortable and economical," Reagan said.
& # 39; We look forward to the day when West Berlin can become one of the most important aviation hubs in the whole of Central Europe. & # 39;
A departure lounge within the huge terminal is empty with the lights off. In the chic airport hotel, a small team turns on the cranes and dust the dust to prevent the building from falling into disrepair
After agreeing to replace the existing Tempelhof, Tegel and Schoenefeld airports, the German government set up the Berlin Brandenburg Flughafen Holding management company to oversee the construction of a new air hub.
From the beginning of 2006, the construction work was hampered by the financial crisis of 2008 and eventually had to use government money.
But it was not a lack of money that would eventually bring the project to a halt.
& # 39; The supervisory board was full of politicians who had no idea how to supervise the project, & # 39; Prof. Genia Kostka of the Berlin Free University told the BBC.
When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, one of the first priorities for uniting the two halves of a divided Germany was to refresh the infrastructure that was missing in the East. Pictured: new check-ins desks wrapped in covers that have never been removed
& # 39; They were responsible for important decisions. & # 39;
Allegedly, attempts to save money have led those in charge to hand out tens of cderives from smaller companies for different elements, and puts them under pressure to work for less.
& # 39; They built a very complex operating system that didn't work & said the former Berlin politician Martin Delius.
One of the strangest revelations about the project was that the size of the airport doubled during its construction, revealed in the German Radio Spaetkauf podcast & # 39; How To F *** Up An Airport & # 39 ;.
Originally planned without almost all stores due to the architectural dislike of shopping, business executives had to make a huge change to the plans to add restaurants and stores to the floor.
The bosses at the airport are planning to open it in October 2020, but first there are around 550,000 errors that need to be corrected throughout the site and that were identified after a canceled opening ceremony in 2012.
Ultimately, with the huge number of contractors and builders involved in the plans, designers lost control of what had been done, or even where it was.
Despite the problems that the bosses made for a grand opening in 2012, Chancellor Angela Merkel would be present.
But when the local officer responsible for certifying the building's fire safety carried out his inspection, the celebrations were quickly brought to a halt.
The system of security detectors and alarmed fire doors did not work because the company had worked with improvised systems, including employees sitting at the door to raise the alarm.
The system of security detectors and alarmed fire doors did not work because the company had worked with improvised systems, including employees sitting at the door to trigger an alarm
Indignant about the revelations, bosses asked for a list of all errors found from the other side of the site.
They received a figure of 550,000; Missing or incorrect cabling, poor security systems, the list was endless.
But after hundreds of millions had been plowed into the project, the buildings could not be abandoned or destroyed.
& # 39; There is a point of no return & # 39 ;, said Martin Delius, & # 39; It is public money. If you spend it, you have to get something out of it. & # 39;
The total cost of the project is € 6 billion (£ 5.3 billion) – in addition to an original projection of around € 2 billion at an earlier point in the project that did not take into account the huge number of errors
The management company is now working intensively on an opening in October 2020.
The total cost of the project is € 6 billion (£ 5.3 billion) – in addition to an original projection of around € 2 billion at an earlier point in the project that did not take into account the huge number of errors.
A large part of this final amount will be paid by the German taxpayer, since the federal government holds a 26 percent interest in the project.
Eight years late and an estimated € 4 billion above budget, it is hoped that meeting the new deadline in 16 months will help restore some dignity.
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