Board to decide on fifth delay of Berlin's scandal-plagued airport

The supervisory board of Berlin's scandal-plagued international airport will decide Friday whether its planned opening date in the second half of 2017 will be postponed for a fifth time.

The 5.4-billion-euro (6-billion-dollar) airport, intended to eventually merge with the city's smaller hubs Tegel and Schoenefeld, has been under construction for a decade and was originally meant to open in 2011.

The latest delays are linked to the airport's smoke extraction system, which has yet to be certified and could require additional construction work.

In August, a bankruptcy filing by one of the airport's major contractors - a subsidiary of Dutch engineering services company Imtech - had already cast doubt on the 2017 opening date.

The airport was intended to be a symbol of Berlin's transformation from a frontline in the Cold War to the main hub of Europe's economic powerhouse. Instead, repeated delays have made it a national embarrassment.

Gaffes have included the government ordering a stop to construction because the roof was in danger of collapsing under the weight of a ventilation system and plans to demolish hundreds of the airport's internal walls after they were deemed a fire hazard.

Once it is open, the aviation hub will accommodate 27 million passengers per year. There are plans to expand this number to 45 million in due course.

Last update: Fri, 11/03/2016 - 12:09
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