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Berlin logs new air passenger record

The number of travelers using Berlin's airports has risen considerably in the course of the year. A month before the end of 2016, officials confirmed a new all-time record - a fresh challenge for the German capital.

Berlin's airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, have handled over 30 million passengers this year so far, officials told the DPA news agency on Friday.

The number is already higher than any recorded for a single year, and with one month to go until the end of the year, Berlin's airport operators expect the tally to increase to 32 million travelers for the whole of 2016.

In the January-to-October period, passenger numbers were 11.7 percent higher than in the same 9-month period a year earlier. Operators attributed the significant rise to Berlin's growing attraction for tourists and increased activities in the city by budget airlines such as Ryanair ad Easyjet.

Fit for the future?

A decade ago, Berlin's airports only logged 18.5 million travelers, and it was then that building work for the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport began. It's still not completed, with the future aviation hub having become a byword for bad administration.

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Berlin airport - masters of disaster

The much-delayed airport has suffered a series of failures, from a roof that was too heavy to a fire-protection system that defied gravity. The total bill ballooned from 1.7 billion euros ($1.82 billion) to more than 5 billion euros by 2016.

The airport is expected to open in late 2017 or early 2018, more than five years after the original target date.

But once it's open, it'll only be able to handle about 27 million passengers a year. With Berlin-Tegel set to close down, this means that the current airport at Schönefeld, which shares one of the new airport's two runways, will have to be kept open at least for a transitional period to cope with growing passenger numbers.

hg/sgb (dpa, AFP)

 

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