Germany’s third largest airport, Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt” airport BER, is scheduled to open on 31 October 2020. IATA code for the entire airport location will change to BER with the start of the 2020/2021 winter schedule. Schӧnefeld SXF becomes BER. Tegel TXL to close November 8.
With the opening of the new terminals T1 and T2, the second runway on the southern side of BER will be inaugurated, and the existing airport Schӧnefeld will become Terminal 5, T5, also operated by BER.
With three terminals and two runways on a total area of 3632 acres, the BER has an initial annual capacity of 27 million passengers. The plan is to gradually increase that capacity to an annual 45 million passengers by 2040, creating an estimated 60,000 new jobs by 2035.
With the opening of BER airport, all air traffic in the German capital region will be concentrated in one location. Berlin is a major tourist magnet, political center and trade fair city. The state of Brandenburg has been gaining economic importance, attracting global companies, such as Tesla. The new airport location is an important hub for linking the strong economic and tourism region to more than 150 destinations worldwide. During the ceremonial opening, a Lufthansa and an easyJet plane will be landing simultaneously at the new airport.
BER Airport is connected to the rail and road network and can be reached from Berlin’s center in about 30 minutes. After opening, up to 14 trains per hour will be available for passengers. Deutsche Bahn (DB) has integrated the BER airport into its current network and is already offering the first long-distance rail connections.
COVID measures and testing
Passenger safety is of paramount importance at BER airport. As of August 20, 2020, all passengers arriving from high-risk areas have to undergo a free COVID test within 72 hours and isolate in a private environment until the results arrive. At the airport, all passengers are required to adhere to RKI (Robert-Koch-Institute) guidelines and official government recommendations to contain the virus. These can be found in hygiene protocols and include keeping at least 6 ft distance, wearing a mask, and washing / sanitizing their hands regularly. In addition to that, it is recommend that all passengers inform themselves regularly about new measures taken by German officials.
Terminal 1, with its long glass facade, forms the center of the airport complex designed by Meinhard von Gerkan, Hubert Nienhoff and Hans Joachim Paap. The guiding principle for the central terminal was the “one roof concept”, with all the key airport functions bundled together. The new passenger terminal consists of a main, two story hall, spanned by a filigree steel-and-glass roof. Facades feature clear geometrical lines, inspired by concepts from Schinkel to Bauhaus, as well as local pine forests. The interior is dominated by warm wood tones and natural stone.
Visual centerpiece of the check-in hall is a large, seemingly floating, red wave made of metal mesh flutters. Designed by Los Angeles-based artist Pae White, the work might be reminiscent of a flying carpet or membrane between the known and the unknown.
The airport will eventually feature 39 restaurants and 20 service companies, with an almost 100,000 square feet retail plaza set in the heart of the main terminal.
Officially opening on October 31, 2020 (but accepting booking from October 15), the Steigenberger Airport Hotel is located directly at the terminal and within walking from the train station. It features 322 rooms as well as a conference center with meeting space for up to 500 people, fine dining and a spa.