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Business

New Berlin airport faces yet another delay

According to German media reports, the opening of Berlin's new international airport will be postponed yet again. The most likely date for its inauguration is now October 2013, and costs are to rise further.

Berlin's new international airport will only open on October 27 next year, Germany's mass circulation newspaper Bild reported on Tuesday. It would be the third significant delay, with the new hub originally scheduled to be inaugurated on November 1, 2011.

A meeting of the airport's supervisory board was brought forward to next Friday when the latest final opening date is to be announced to the public. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit had refused to be drawn on the inauguration date, but said airlines finally needed clarity.

"We have a strong interest in it being a sustainable date," Wowereit commented on the ongoing dilemma of Europe's biggest civil engineering project at the moment.

Damaging Berlin's reputation

A delay in spring of this year came after safety inspectors refused to certify the airport's fire safety systems, but media reports revealed in the process that there were many other construction shortcomings waiting to be addressed.

The city state of Berlin, the surrounding state of Brandenburg and the federal government need to inject a further one billion euros ($1.26 billion) into the project. The airport was originally expected to cost 2.5 billion euros, but the most recent estimates put the overall costs at over four billion.

A good deal of the funds will go towards soundproofing homes in the flight paths, plugging holes in the construction budget and compensating airlines now forced to resort to the city's two other airports for much longer than originally envisaged.

hg/msh (dpa, dapd)