Berlin Airports’ had the best ever year last year and passenger growth continued unabated, claimed Rainer Schwarz, head of Berlin Airports, at ITB.
The city’s three airports together recorded over 20 million passengers in 2007 - up by 8.3 per cent on the previous year. “We are now among Europe’s top 15 airports, and we expect continuing
growth through 2008, to over 21.5 million passengers,” said Schwarz to the ITB English Daily.
The Berlin airport authority, aware of the rapid rise of air traffic, has expanded the original plans for the new Berlin Brandenburg International airport (BBI) in Schِnefeld.
“At the end of last year, we decided to add two parallel piers to the north and south of the main terminal, with the north pier dedicated to low cost airline traffic,” said Swartz.
The new airport will now have a capacity of 25 million passengers when it opens to the public on November 1, 2011. It will then be enlarged to accommodate up to 40 million passengers. BBI will position Berlin as Europe’s newest hub for traffic to the East. “We are already the leading airport in Germany for traffic to Scandinavia and the Baltic States and in third position to central and eastern Europe. Once BBI is opened, we will also become a natural gateway to Asia,” said Schwarz.
So far, Berlin is only linked directly in Asia to Bangkok, Doha and Ulan Bator, with the possibility of flights to Beijing starting soon. This summer, there will be flights from Berlin to a number of new destinations: Lufthansa will increase its capacity by 16.5 per cent with new services to Dublin, Ibiza, Istanbul, Milan, Moscow, Palma and Tallinn. There will also be new direct links with Bucharest, Edinburgh, Florence, Heraklion and Thessaloniki.