Crash Pilot Dummies

Yesterday I reported on the @EuroSavant Twitter-feed about the rather unfortunate-sounding instance of Berlin’s new airport (BER: Berlin Brandenburg Airport) not opening in time for the summer tourist season:

BM Misses peak season! Outrage in #Germany as opening new #Berlin airport delayed beyond planndd 3JUN date into autumn



Apparently that was not even the half of it, as we learn today from one of the German capital city’s leading newspapers, Der Tagesspiegel:

Der Willy-Brandt-Flughafen ist ein politischer Bruchpilot:


Bruchpilot: Peter Tiede proclaims BER to be a “political crash pilot.” And Peter Tiede is no mere Tagesspiegel journalist, but rather editor-in-chief of the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten, another Berlin-area paper.

I’m not really aware of that aviation term (“crash pilot”?), but clearly it’s not meant to be good, as we see in the piece’s first paragraph after the lead:

An airport arises in the wrong place under scandalous conditions. There is too little planning, too little building, and it is not ready. And the routes by which airplanes come and go no one wants to make known beforehand . . . How all that was sold, who in the airport company’s management made which errors, who misled the Public – that’s something the airport company, its Board and owners, the states of Brandenburg and Berlin, and even the federal government will have have to clarify.

Or else an investigative commitee – at some point.

So somebody certainly believes that the authorities in charge messed this airport up, and bad. But Germans? And at their very own capital city? These are not the Germans we all know (and love)! Even worse, if this lament does happen to be anywhere close to true, is that the airport is supposed to be named after everyone’s favorite Cold Warrior, Willy Brandt.

It does look bad, though. Among other things, Tiede claims that an additional runway (the airport’s third) is just a question of time, and short time at that: it’s going to be needed within at least two years, if BER is to serve any serious use. And yes, they have now called off the airport’s scheduled opening ceremony for 3 June, but nobody really knows when it actually will be able to open.

The article to which the Tagesspiegel tweet links is basically Peter Tiede’s polemic about how disastrously everything has gone wrong, and his platform for calling for political consequences to ensue for those he holds most responsible, namely Brandenburg Minister-President Matthias Platzeck and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit. An earlier, much longer Tagesspiegel article (Errors in the system: The BER problem is back), to which Tiede provides a link at the beginning of his piece, provides more of the actual details.

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