After a staggering 10 years, delay finally Berlin’s new Brandenburg has officially opened with the first landing of an EasyJet flight. A dual landing by Lufthansa and EasyJet on the airport’s parallel runways was planned to mark the occasion. However, this wasn’t possible due to bad weather.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport is open! is a phrase that some journalists thought they would never be able to. Delay after delay turned the airport into a white elephant, with the facility even being used to store brand new Mercedes cars at one point. However, all the kinks have now been ironed out, meaning that the airport is now one for business.
Recently, British Airways wanted to mark the retirement of its Boeing 747s with a double departure on Heathrow’s parallel runways. However, poor weather on the day meant that this was not possible. Unfortunately, the bad weather in Berlin meant that this special event would not be possible either. Both aircraft were required to land on the northern runway. This runway is the only one equipped for bad weather, as the southern runway doesn’t officially open until this today.
EasyJet and Lufthansa are both set to become significant users of the new Terminal 1. Both were included in the unusual landing, with each carrier flying its respective CEO to the special event.
Lufthansa flew an Airbus A320neo, into the airport from Munich. This aircraft was chosen for the event as it is named Neubrandenburg, with Neu being the German word for new. The flight was carrying around 40 special guests, including Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.
The EasyJet flight landed first after a planned simultaneous landing was called off.
Meanwhile, EasyJet also flew an Airbus A320neo into the airport. Rather than flying from Munich, the British LCC chose a far shorter route. It carried CEO Johan Lundgren and others from Berlin’s old Tegel Airport. A distance of just 25km as the crow flies. The aircraft had positioned to Tegel from London Gatwick on Thursday.
Unfortunately, the day didn’t go without a hitch. Berlin’s special day was hijacked by thousands of climate change protestors, many wearing penguin costumes. The protest, organized by Am Boden bleiben (Stay on The Ground), saw protesters sitting in the terminal on its arrival level.
However, there were some less than peaceful protestors. Special members of the police force were called in to remove protestors from the roof of the terminal’s exterior. The protesters in the terminal and on the roof were joined by a huge march of thousands escorted by the police.
What’s next for the airport?
Rather than opening all at once, the new terminal is opening in stages. Following the two special flights mentioned above, five additional scheduled easyJet flights arrived at the terminal on the same day.
Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines have also begun operation from the new terminal and other airlines will move across from Tegel throughout the week, with Lufthansa’s Eurowings moving across this week, followed by Lufthansa itself next weekend. Air France will operate the Tegel’s final ever flight on Sunday, November 8th. Berlin’s old Shönefeld Airport has become part of the new Brandenburg Airport, transitioning into BER Terminal 5.
Edited by: Joe Cusmano