Every Berliner knows the new airport is about to open. But few know about the disasters that could happen next. We’re here to explain. Masie, Joel and Jöran take part in a test of the new terminal and find it functional, if a bit dull.
We meet the only hero in the BER saga – Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, the airport’s fourth CEO, and the one who finally finished the job. He’s a bureaucratic nerd who visited the building site on weekends to check on progress. And he has a penchant for prose when talking about his airport: “In the evenings, when the sun disappears behind the horizon, or when airplanes with their landing lights are touching down at Schönefeld… I don’t want to call it romantic, but there are special moments.”
But just as BER was turning the corner, COVID-19 has slashed air traffic by 70% and put a huge hole in an already shaky budget. Critics say the pandemic is masking a passenger capacity crunch. Can the airport really handle all of Berlin’s travellers? We’ll only know after the crisis.
How will BER pay the bills? We talk to business professor Hans Georg Gemünden from the Techniches Universität, who says the airport company has used accounting tricks to hide serious financial problems, and predicts it will go bankrupt in several years.
Should BER open at all? Environmental activists from Am Boden Blieben (Stay On The Ground) will blockade the airport to protest unnecessary air travel. They propose a frequent flyer tax to discourage jetsetting.
Radio Spaetkauf urges you to support any of the many charities rescuing people from drowning in the Mediterranean. We all deserve a good and safe life, no matter where we are born. European governments are acting immorally, but some people are trying to save lives. Donate to:
Mare Liberum: https://mare-liberum.org/
Alarm Phone: https://alarmphone.org/
Sea Eye: https://sea-eye.org/
Or any other Mediterranean rescue organization.
How To Fuck Up An Airport is presented by Radio Spaetkauf and RadioEins.
Producer: Joel Dullroy
Presenters: Joel Dullroy, Maisie Hitchcock, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern
Artwork: Jim Avignon