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This 7-Year-Old Airport That Never Had a Flight, Here's Why

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08:51   |   May 19, 2019

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This 7-Year-Old Airport That Never Had a Flight, Here's Why
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  • You're walking through a gleaming airport terminal with screens displaying flight details
  • and dozens of gates waiting for airplanes to pull in. Only... the building is completely
  • empty. No people, no planes, no nothing. Nope, it’s not the plot of a new horror movie,
  • but a real airport in Berlin, Germany, that has stayed brand-new and untouched for a whole
  • 7 years.
  • But let's start from the very beginning! I mean, why would Berlin need a new airport
  • at all? Berlin already has two airports: Tegel, situated in the north-west of Berlin, and
  • Schönefeld, in the south-east. To be precise, there used to be one more airport in Berlin,
  • called Tempelhof. But having opened in 1923, the airport was very old, and despite a long
  • history and amazing architecture, it was shut down in 2008.
  • The two remaining airports are also pretty old and can't manage all the air traffic and
  • passenger flow anymore. That's why the idea of building one large, modern airport that
  • would handle most of the flights in Berlin was met with enthusiasm. Even more, the airport
  • was supposed to become the third biggest airport in Germany, after Frankfurt and Munich.
  • But the more I learned about this new Brandenburg Airport, the more I wondered if this construction
  • could be... you know... cursed? The ghost airport turned out to be one big problem:
  • incredibly long delays, malfunctioning equipment, and costs that exceeded the initial budget
  • by 3 and a half times! At first, the construction of the airport was supposed to cost about
  • 2.2 billion dollars (2 billion euro), which really isn’t that much, speaking about airports.
  • But no such luck! Today, the number has already reached a staggering 8.2 billion dollars (7.3
  • billion euro), and that's not even the final figure!
  • The construction of the airport started in 2006, and the plan was to open the airport
  • in the summer of 2012. However, the opening has been put off several times and is already
  • almost 3,000 days overdue. Some people believe that the new airport is doomed and will have
  • to be torn down and rebuilt. So, what could be so wrong with the airport
  • that it would fail to open for so many years? Well… Imagine this: it's almost June 2012,
  • and the aviation world is ready and waiting for the grand opening of the newest German
  • airport. Several weeks before, thousands of volunteers participate in the airport's trial
  • runs. They check in, go through security checks, board dummy planes, and claim their baggage
  • afterward. Everything goes more or less smoothly. So, the media is prepared for round-the-clock
  • coverage of the event and its VIP guests, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • Tickets for the flights leaving from the brand-new location are sold. Lufthansa brings its newest
  • Airbus A380 to make an inaugural flight from Brandenburg Airport to Frankfurt.
  • And then the unimaginable happens: at the very last moment, the airport's opening is
  • called off due to some mysterious "technical issues." And one of the main problems (yep,
  • there are lots!) is a fire-alarm system which turns out to be too complicated and, what’s
  • worse - faulty! A special commission finds out that in case of a real fire, smoke is
  • going to be pumped downward, deep below the terminal building, instead of going up through
  • the ceiling, as hot air is supposed to. On top of that, about 3,000 fire detectors are
  • missing, and some of the remaining ones don't work properly.
  • Not a problem, the administration says. We'll position several hundred 24/7 observers around
  • the airport, and if they notice smoke, they'll inform everyone and open the doors manually
  • to let the smoke out. Um, what? But wait, that's not all! There are problems
  • with check-in desks as well. When the airport was testing their efficiency with all those
  • volunteers, each check-in desk had to serve about 60 passengers per hour. Unfortunately,
  • check-in staff only managed to handle half that number. The solution to potential check-in
  • delays? Oh, you'll never guess! They proposed to set up tents outside the airport for the
  • passengers of "second-class" airlines to check in! Of course, it has to last only until more
  • permanent check-in desks are installed. Also, as time passes, other problems get detected:
  • escalators are too short, almost 300,000 ft (91,000 m) of cable are installed incorrectly,
  • 4,000 doors have wrong numbers, the wiring gets overheated, and - brace yourself - there
  • are serious structural problems with the ceiling. In short, the roof may actually collapse.
  • That's probably because it's twice as heavy as its authorized weight. As a result, construction
  • workers have to be very careful when they go to rebuild elements from scratch.
  • However, in 2017, during a new safety check of the airport, the commission discovers new
  • flaws, including issues with fire detection, sprinklers, smoke control, and exhaust (yep,
  • once again). Nowadays, all 750 flight information displays
  • have to be replaced since they’ve been working since the original opening date and have sadly
  • reached their limit. Hundreds of light bulbs are constantly on because the airport staff
  • can't figure out how to switch them off. An empty train runs 5 miles (8 km) toward the
  • non-functioning airport every day so that the tracks don't get rusty. Also, it seems
  • that the emergency access for the fire department has some fails as well.
  • And still, these aren’t even all the hardships the Brandenburg airport will deal with. The
  • place is designed to be a big hub airport. (That's what they call an airport that serves
  • as a stop-over point to get passengers to their final destination.) And the main tenant
  • of Brandenburg airport is supposed to be airline company Air Berlin. But in 2017, this carrier
  • went bankrupt! And even though Lufthansa promises to take over several routes of Air Berlin,
  • they still aren't ready to move their main hubs from Munich and Frankfurt to Berlin.
  • And look, if an airport is the connecting hub of an airline company, its big size and
  • vast shopping area make perfect sense. People spend hours waiting for their connecting flights,
  • all the while strolling around the airport, visiting stores, and eating at the airport's
  • numerous cafes and restaurants. And that's where another problem with Brandenburg Airport
  • lies. It's located pretty far away from the city, and not all the passengers will be willing
  • to make such a long journey to catch a short direct flight. It's true that some big international
  • airports, let's say, Tokyo Narita Airport, are situated far from the cities they serve.
  • But with lots of connecting passengers, the proximity of the hub to the city doesn't matter
  • at all. On top of that, even when the airport opens,
  • chances are it’ll be too small to handle all the flights and passenger traffic. The
  • two currently functioning Berlin airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, serve approximately
  • 33 million passengers a year, and the new Brandenburg Airport's capacity is only 27
  • million people a year. Interestingly, Brandenburg Airport has already
  • experienced what it feels like to be a real functioning airport with landing planes and
  • all. In August 2017, no aircraft were allowed to land at Tegel Airport because the police
  • were deactivating some unexploded World War II ordnance. That's why several commercial
  • jets had to land at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. But if you think passengers had an exciting
  • time wondering around deserted arrival halls and empty shopping areas, think again. The
  • travelers couldn't leave their planes at all: there were neither mobile stairs brought to
  • the planes nor buses to pick the passengers up. Only at 11 PM did the police allow the
  • use of Tegel Airport again. The planes that were stuck in Brandenburg Airport took off,
  • and one extremely short flight later, the passengers were able to finally disembark
  • on their original destination point.
  • Wow. I’ve seen airport delays before but this? Hmm! Hey, Do you know about any other
  • unusual or deserted airports? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something
  • new today, then give this video a like and share it with a friend.
  • But – hey! – don't go anywhere just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
  • check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right video, click on it, and enjoy!
  • Stay on the Bright Side of life!

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Description

The idea of building one large, modern airport that would handle most of the flights in Berlin was met with enthusiasm. This airport was supposed to become the third biggest airport in Germany, after Frankfurt and Munich. But the opening has been put off several times and is already almost 3,000 days overdue. Some people even believe that the new airport is doomed and will have to be torn down and rebuilt.

What could be so wrong with the airport that it would fail to open for so many years? Well, at the very last moment, the airport's opening is called off due to some mysterious "technical issues..."

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TIMESTAMPS:
Why would Berlin need a new airport at all? #
Could it be cursed? #
Why the airport's opening was called off #
The roof might collapse #
How to switch off these light bulbs? #
The bankruptcy of the main tenant #
The only day when the airport was functioning #

Music by Epidemic Sound https://www.epidemicsound.com/

SUMMARY:
- At first, the construction of the airport was supposed to cost about 2.2 billion dollars (2 billion euro), which really isn’t that much, speaking about airports. But no such luck! Today, the number has already reached a staggering 8.2 billion dollars (7.3 billion euro), and that's not even the final figure!
- The construction of the airport started in 2006, and the plan was to open the airport in the summer of 2012. However, the opening has been put off several times and is already almost 3,000 days overdue.
- One of the main problems (yep, there are lots!) is a fire-alarm system which turns out to be too complicated and, what’s worse - faulty!
- When the airport was testing their efficiency with all those volunteers, each check-in desk had to serve about 60 passengers per hour. Unfortunately, check-in staff only managed to handle half that number.
- There are serious structural problems with the ceiling. In short, the roof may actually collapse. That's probably because it's twice as heavy as its authorized weight.
- Nowadays, all 750 flight information displays have to be replaced since they’ve been working since the original opening date and have sadly reached their limit.
- It's located pretty far away from the city, and not all the passengers will be willing to make such a long journey to catch a short direct flight. It's true that some big international airports, let's say, Tokyo Narita Airport, are situated far from the cities they serve.

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