airberlin Files Suit Over Postponement of Opening Berlin Brandenburg (BER)
Germany’s airberlin filed a request for a declaratory judgment against the Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH at Potsdam Regional Court. airberlin is Germany’s second largest airline and a member of the oneworld alliance, with close ties toEtihad Airways.
In this action, airberlin is seeking judicial confirmation of the airline’s entitlement to damages as a result of the postponement of the opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER). At the root of the case, airberlin alleges the Brandenburg Airport operator failed to comply with the agreed opening date of 3 June 2012 and has since postponed the opening several times.
The carrier alleges they are sustaining considerable damage as a result of the delayed launch of the new airport, which can not be fully quantified at this stage. airberlin claims overall damages consist of multiple factors, including being dependent on the continuation of operations at Berlin-Tegel, in particular during the winter months. airberlin believes estimated additional costs and other losses incurred to date already run into the tens of millions.
Alleged damages hinge on airberlin undertaking their flight planning for Berlin on the basis of the new infrastructure at Berlin Brandenburg (BER) airport and opening date assured by the airport operator.
In a statement, airberlin claims this led them to add more than 230 additional flights per week to its Berlin schedule in summer 2012 with the aim of expanding its international hub. As the newer, larger Brandenburg airport has yet to open, all Berlin flights must continue to use Berlin-Tegel (TXL) which lacks the infrastructure to handle such demand. airberlin claims operations at Berlin-Tegel (TXL) have brought about considerable additional costs for the airline. Furthermore, Berlin-Tegel is already operating at the limits of its capacity and even with the most committed engagement of the airport staff, it offers neither the capacity nor the quality that the new airport would provide.
airberlin’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hartmut Mehdorn, stated, “We have decided to bring our claim for damages through the courts. Over the course of the last several months we held many intensive discussions with the airport operator in which we strove to find a mutually acceptable solution. Unfortunately, no such agreement could be reached despite extensive efforts on the part of airberlin. As a result, legal action is now the only feasible route open to airberlin in order to safeguard its interests. As the management team it is our duty both to the company and to its shareholders to prevent losses.”
At this time it is not known when Brandenburg will open. We have contacted Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH for comment.
airberlin’s Frankfurt based competitor, Lufthansa, just opened a new terminal at Frankfurt International Airport with the opening of Pier A Plus.