Economy & Politics

BER openingThe largest passenger airports in the world

BER has wasted the travel boom. Thanks to a nine-year delay, the Berlin Brandenburg airport will open on October 30, 2020 in the midst of the greatest crisis in international passenger air traffic. Critics had criticized that BER will be too small at the start. In the Corona crisis, on the other hand, the question arises: When will the capacities of over 40 million passengers even be exhausted?

BER wants to grow despite Corona

The airport operators are currently preparing for many more passengers. The strong increase in passenger numbers by the end of 2019 resulted in a forecast of around 55 million passengers by 2040 for BER. A master plan is to make the airport fit for this volume. Shortly before the opening of the BER, these plans were apparently up-to-date, at least they were prominently placed on the BER website. By the way: The freight facility at BER started operations in 2013. The Cargo Center has a capacity of around 100,000 tonnes of additional cargo.

Airports that were too small in 2019 may even have an advantage at the moment. The airport operator industry association Airports Council International (ACI) had reported a passenger increase of 1.7 percent at the 20 largest airports in the world. In the first quarter of 2020, passenger numbers then plummeted when passenger traffic virtually came to a standstill for a long time.

Airports are fighting for survival

The ACI expected a decline of over 4.6 billion passengers and a decline in sales of more than 97 billion US dollars in May 2020. “The industry is now struggling to survive after the sustained growth in passenger traffic in 2019,” said ACI boss Angela Gittens. The corona crisis hits the ten largest passenger airports particularly hard. That’s how badly their business has collapsed.


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