BER airport. Berlin’s new gateway to the world.
- The Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt“ airport (IATA-Code BER) is opening on 31 October 2020
- As Europe’s most modern aviation hub, the BER will be one of the region’s largest employers
- As a driver for growth, the BER also benefits Berlin’s tourism and conventions sectors
- The three terminals (T1, T2 and T5) can process up to 45 million passengers annually
- The former Schönefeld airport is revamped as Terminal 5 (T5)
The Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt“ airport (IATA-Code BER) is opening on 31 October 2020. As Europe’s most modern aviation hub, the airport links Germany’s capital city with all Europe’s central transport axes. With three terminals and two runways on a total area of 1470 hectares, the BER has an initial annual capacity of 27 million passengers. The plan is to gradually increase that capacity to an annual 45 million passengers by 2040, creating an estimated 60,000 new jobs by 2035. As a result, the BER will not only be one of the largest employers in the region, but also one of its main economic hubs and drivers to growth in the tourism and the conventions sectors.
From 31 October 2020, passengers are served by a total of three terminals at two locations. Terminals 1 and 2 are centrally located on the BER complex, between the parallel take-off and landing strips. The former Schönefeld Airport, on the northern edge of the airport, becomes Terminal 5. All three terminals are easy to reach by public transport or car. There is a free Mobility Service available for travellers with limited mobility. To reduce waiting times, a separate security control is provided for families. If arriving passengers have questions about staying in Berlin, they can find all the answers from visitBerlin’s friendly BERLIN WELCOME CENTER team in Terminal 1. The multilingual team advises visitors on the Berlin WelcomeCard and activities in the city from sightseeing to events, and on hotel and ticket bookings.
Terminal 1 with its eight levels is the largest BER terminal and the site of the “Flughafen BER - Terminal 1-2” station. The Terminal has ten check-in islands with a total of 118 counters as well as 36 security checkpoints for departing passengers and five more for transfer passengers. In addition, Terminal 1 has a wide range of shops, food outlets, bars and restaurants, and service facilities. Once through the security checkpoints, passengers are in the heart of the terminal, a “Market Square” of approx. 9000 square metres. Terminal 2 is 200 metres long and houses some of its own check in options, security checkpoints, a luggage handling system and service facilities. Terminal 2 also has a direct link to Terminal 1. Terminal 5, located in the northern part of the airport, replaces the former Schönefeld Airport. Apart from its check-in area, arrivals and departure halls as well as its own security checkpoints, Terminal 5 also offers a comprehensive range of shops, food outlets, bars and restaurants, and service facilities. From the “Flughafen BER - Terminal 1-2” station, Terminal 5 can be reached conveniently in eight minutes by S-Bahn train or in nine to ten minutes by bus and taxi. Terminal 5 is a ten-minute walk from the airport railway station "Flughafen BER - Terminal 5".
Terminal 1, with its long glass façade, forms the centre of the airport complex designed by Meinhard von Gerkan, Hubert Nienhoff and Hans Joachim Paap. As a midfield terminal building between the parallel take-off and landing runways, it dominates the adjacent structures including the administration building, hotels, and a number of car parks. The concrete colonnades to the sides form a sophisticated contrast to the spreading architecture of the glass terminal hall. The design set out to create a system of individual elements and, hence, to maximise the clear architectural identity of the overall ensemble, ensuring this unity can be maintained even if the site is expanded or additional units added in future. The guiding principle for the central terminal was the “one roof concept”, with all the key airport functions bundled under the vast 50,000 m² roof.
As the gateway to the world, the BER airport has excellent links to road and rail networks with robust public transport services both sides of the city border. By car or taxi, Terminals 1 and 2 are reached via the A113 six-lane motorway and a dedicated exit for the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. The A113 to the “Schönefeld-Süd” junction also offers the best route to Terminal 5. This can also be reached along the B96a, a newly improved and expanded major road. Most likely, around 50% of passengers will use public transport to travel to and from the airport. The public transport links include the S-Bahn (city railway) and regional trains as well buses from Berlin and the region around the airport. Deutsche Bahn (DB) has integrated the BER airport into its network and is already offering the first long-distance rail connections. In addition, passengers can reach the BER in just 35 minutes on the new airport express FEX from Berlin’s Central Station via the Gesundbrunnen and Ostkreuz stations. On weekdays, the new PlusBus Airport-Region runs every hour on two new lines from Königs Wusterhausen via Wildau, Miersdorf and Schulzendorf to the BER. There are also express buses to the airport from the Rudow U-Bahn station. The regional 22 train from Potsdam, with a journey time of just under an hour, also serves the airport. The S9 and S45 S-Bahn trains also run every 20 minutes directly to the city centre.
The BER and its importance for the region
Even in the planning phase, the airport already developed into a key economic hub and an important driver for growth in the tourist sector across the region. After all, thanks to the new airport, even more visitors can easily access the metropolitan region. Moreover, to date 2,400 companies in the region have already based themselves at the BER – providing planning certainty for both the airlines and the business sector. And first and foremost, the congress and meetings sector (with the corona crisis hopefully soon overcome) views the appeal of the BER in the coming years as an important factor in attracting major international conferences to Berlin. For this reason Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin, is confident: “The opening of the BER airport will trigger the next qualitative burst of growth for the capital region.” This will also benefit the south-east of Berlin, an area stretching from Oberschöneweide to Adlershof, Grünau and the BER airport. Thanks to the new Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt“ airport, this will become a prospering location for logistics and airport-related businesses. Over the next ten years, Adlershof and the Wilhelminenhof Campus in particular will set the bar for innovation, excellence in research and (further) training. The outstanding links to the BER thus connect science, innovation and media from Schöneweide and Adlershof with Europe and the world, and ensure high levels of international exchange and competitiveness. The opening of Europe’s most modern aviation hub will thus create an estimated 60,000 new jobs and have a lasting positive impact on the region’s economic development.