The newly opened Berlin Brandenburg Airport will close off one of its runways and one of its terminals just four weeks after its grand opening, as passenger traffic continues to sit at just 10 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
The closures could extend for up to a year if demand for travel does not rebound, the airport’s operator has said.
From early 2021, the airport will close the doors of Terminal 5 – formerly the terminal for the Berlin Schoenefeld Airport – with no determined date for its re-opening.
This terminal is frequented by low-cost European carriers such as Ryaniar and Wizz Air.
The airport’s operator has already delayed the opening of Terminal 2, originally planned to be opened for business at the same time as Terminal 1, to 2021, in light of subdued passenger demand.
Further, the airport intends to temporarily close its new southern runway “as soon as possible” due to limited air traffic.
The decision will see Germany’s capital servicing a single airport runway for the first time in nearly 100 years, excluding war times.
The airport has said it currently expects to serve around 9 million travellers throughout 2021, less than a third of the standard.
Terminal 1 alone has a capacity of up to 28 million passengers per year and would therefore most likely be sufficient for the entirety of 2021, assuming the airport’s projections come to be .
The news comes just weeks after the Berlin Brandenburg airport opened its doors, after nine years of delays and 14 years in total under construction.
The new airport finally welcomed passengers for the first time on 31 October 2020.
The grand opening of the new airport saw the permanent closure of the city’s smallest airport, Berlin Tegel, which closed after 60 years on 7 November 2020, just days after the grand opening of BER.
Built within just three months in 1948, Berlin Tegel was designed to handle just 2.5 million passengers per year, nowhere near the necessary facilities to serve as the main airport of Germany’s capital. The airport saw 24 million passengers in 2019.