There is a very ugly story breaking in Germany about management failures and project fiascos at the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport which was, until a week ago, officially supposed to open on 3 June.

According to Der Spiegel, it may not open until next March, and the very late, and very grudging admissions of failure on the part of the airport are going to inflict substantial financial damage on the airlines, and considerable inconvenience on passengers, caught out by what is also a gross failing of governance.

The problems outlined in the article bring back bad memories of massive screw ups on the opening of the all new Kuala Lumpur airport 14 years ago, which was then outdone by a disastrously dysfunctional opening of the current Hong Kong Airport a week later.

(The writer flew out of the new airport on a Cathay Pacific A340 on opening day. No checked luggage was loaded, and mine wasn’t found and returned for a further 5 days. However back at the airport, horses and other animals were left to die of starvation and dehydration as airport workers ignored them for days because of software and systems difficulties. The lack of initiative or care by the airport authority was criminal and unforgivable, and the public messaging about how there were minor service interruptions is seared into my memory as among the worst atrocities in aviation public relations of all time. )

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Berlin-Brandenburg is, despite all this, likely to figure very highly in the priorities of airlines and passengers as it delivers on its promise to make Berlin a major German hub in addition to Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg.

There has been speculation as to whether Qantas will continue its services to Frankfurt, either quitting Germany, or transferring its capacity to Berlin. The airline has given nothing away officially, but there is a fairly widespread view that it will quit Germany in its own right.

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