The much-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)—which is still on track to open in October 2020—has begun final technical tests, a prerequisite for opening.

Airport operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB) said July 25: “In the last few months, FBB, together with its service providers and building contractors, have completed the necessary preparations for the start of the comprehensive operating principle tests (Wirk-Prinzip-Prüfungen, WPP) for BER Terminal T1.”

FBB CEO Engelbert Lütke Daldrup said, “The start of the higher-level operative principle tests in July confirms that opening BER in October 2020 is on schedule.”

FBB said in a statement, “Out of a total of 12 asset groups required to be tested, 10 have already been certified with positive results by testing experts and therefore ready for the WPP. In the last few days, the tests for asset group 05 (fire detection and alarm systems) have been completed successfully. In asset group 06 (emergency power supply/safety lighting), the processing of defects has also progressed so far that the start of the operating principle tests can now take place.”

By the October 2020 opening date, BER will have been eight years delayed.

The facility was supposed to have opened by the end of 2011, but the inauguration was delayed several times because of a substantial redesign to comply with fire protection standards, among others. In addition, large parts of the construction plans had to be recertified in a years-long process. FBB also went through several top management changes.

In the meantime, costs have more than tripled from a once calculated €2 billion ($2.2 billion) to €6.5 billion.

The official groundbreaking ceremony initially took place in 2006.

Kurt Hofmann,