Wednesday, 9 January 2013

"Vorsprung durch Technik": Germans seem unable to build an airport

"Vorsprung durch Technik" ("Advancement through technology") is the familiar slogan of a well known German car manufacturer, also symbolizing the technical and industrial prowess of the eurozone paymaster in general. 

However, judging by what is going on in the capital Berlin, the German leadership role may have to be reconsidered:

The saga of Berlin's hapless efforts to build a new airport has taken another embarrassing twist with reports that its opening will be delayed for a fourth time because of continued problems with the fire safety system.

The opening of Berlin's new airport BER, set for Oct. 27, has been delayed for the fourth time and will not go ahead this year in a further blow to the city's reputation. Although not yet confirmed by official sources, the news has triggered calls on Mayor Klaus Wowereit to resign and spells at least another year of congestion at the city's two small, increasingly overstretched eastern and western airports.

Newspapers reported on Monday that the airport's management company had informed contractors in December that an opening before 2014 was unfeasible due to construction errors. The main problem, which also led to previous delays, is the fire safety system. --

Bild added that construction experts checking the building had found hundreds of other faults including cracks in the floor tiles, and more seriously, problems with the airport's local area network that steers everything from the check-in system to the runway lights.
Experts have also warned that the airport doesn't have enough check-in counters and baggage claim conveyor belts to cope with passenger numbers at peak times.
The new airport is, or was to have been, a major prestige project for the German capital, replacing the two ageing and outdated western and eastern airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, which are due to close once it opens.
Construction started in September 2006, and the airport was originally due to open on Oct. 31, 2011. It was then delayed to June 3, 2012, then to spring 2013, and finally to October 2013.

And in addition to the Berlin airport, there are several other construction scandals in Germany.

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