Berlin Brandenburg Airport Photo Report

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt is an international airport under construction 18 km (11 mi) southeast of Berlin, the capital city of Germany. And the editors of had during the ILA Berlin Air Show the opportunity to visit this site.

The new airport will replace three airports in Berlin. Tempelhof Airport closed in 2008, and Tegel Airport is scheduled to close in 2013. The terminal infrastructure of the existing Berlin Schönefeld Airport will be closed in 2013 while some of the airport’s infrastructure will be incorporated into the greatly expanded airport area to the south. The new airport will have two runways, with a length of 3,600 and 4,000 m.  The airport will inherit Schönefeld’s existing southern runway, which will become the new airport’s northern runway. The capacity of the Berlin airport be extended to up to 30 million people per year.

When Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens its doors, the capital city region will offer business travellers, tourists, and companies a high-tech airport with ideal connections, international flights, direct motorway access, and a rail station under the main terminal. It will take only 20 minutes for the airport shuttle to travel the 20-kilometre stretch of track into the Berlin city centre. In addition to making air travel more attractive, Berlin Brandenburg Airport will improve life in the region. By closing Tegel and Tempelhof, hundreds of thousands of Berlin and Brandenburg residents will no longer have to live with aircraft noise.

Construction work began on 5 September 2006. The initial projects were the access roads for the construction site and the extension of the future northern runway (the only physical feature BER will share with the existing Schönefeld airport). In 2007, work started on the railway tunnel that will run underneath the airfield and the Bundesautobahn 113 (A 113), connecting the new terminal to the motorway network, was completed. The construction work for the new terminal began in 2008.

Delays and opening

Initially the airport’s opening date was set for 30 October 2011. In June 2010, Berlin Mayor Wowereit and airport director Rainer Schwarz announced the opening date would be pushed back by seven months to 3 June 2012. However, publicly cited technical difficulties primarily dealing with fire safety and smoke exhaust systems, the opening was delayed a further nine months until at least 17 March 2013. As of August 2012 there were substantial cost and time overruns, and there were doubts that the airport would actually open in March 201. In early September 2012, officials named 27 October 2013 as the likely date for a full opening. Airport operators are estimating that the delay will cost at least €15 million per month, not including compensation demands.


The terminal with its divided facades and clear geometric forms continues architectural elements ranging from the Prussian designer Karl Friedrich Schinkel to the Bauhaus style. The central access road, which will be an avenue lined with trees, picks up characteristic features from the townscapes and countryside of the Berlin/Brandenburg region.

Terminal building:

  • gross floor space: 280,000 m²
  • width 220m x  depth 180m x height 32m
  • roof area on the terminal building: 49,000 m²
  • access road approx. 550 m long

Terminal floors:

  • level U2 – railway, machinery, supply and disposal area
  • level U1 – feeder level from the railway station to the terminal and AirportCity
  • level E0 – arrivals, incl. baggage reclaim and access road
  • level E0Z – intermediate floor  for separating passengers according to the Air Security Act
  • level E1 – departures, check-in, security checks, retail, catering and waiting rooms
  • level E2 – waiting rooms, offices
  • level E3 – lounges
  • level E4 – visitor terrace

Terminal facilities:

  • eight check-in islands with 112 desks in all
  • 40 security monitoring points with prior boarding card checks
  • baggage reclaim hall with 8 baggage reclaim carousels

Baggage sorting hall:

  • gross floor space: 20,000 m²
  • baggage conveying equipment: 9,500 m
  • baggage checks using multi-stage baggage checking units with three levels of checks
  • 24 circular belts as loading end points
  • 6 pier belts as loading end points


  • approx. 715 m long and approx. 34 m wide
  • According to current plans, the main pier will have 16 jetways. Plans have also been drawn up to provide two walk boarding piers.
  • handling of A380 aircraft possible


  • initial capacity in 2013: up to 27 million passengers
  • maximum extension: the capacity of Berlin Brandenburg Airport can be gradually increased to as many as 45 million passengers

Railway station:

  • ICE station with four platforms for regional and long-distance traffic and one local railway platform
  • direct access from the terminal to the station via escalators or lifts

Other information:

  • 2,058 rooms
  • 33,000 m² of glass facades
  • 160,000 m³ of concrete
  • 325,000 to of reinforcing steel
  • 9,000 to of building steel

Technical equipment:

  • innovative heat recovery system with an 80% degree of efficiency
  • 2,000,000 m³ of air will be moved
  • 50,000 sprinkler heads
  • 12,000 fire detectors
  • 3,000 kilometres of cables
  • 100 kilometres of piping
  • 150,000 m² of sheet metal channels for room ventilation equipment

Control Tower

The architectural and technical design of the new control tower of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH is in line with the conditions and requirements of Berlin Brandenburg Airport. The newly developed elliptic tower with just four supports offers room for eleven workers.
Client and operator: DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH Architect: Franz Ondra (Stuttgart Architect)

Height: 72 metres
• Beginning of construction in April 2007
• Laying of the foundation stone for the DFS tower in April 2009
• Completion of the structural work in November 2009
• Completion of construction in September 2010
Costs: around €35 miilion

Sources: Wikipedia, BER

All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing