Europe

Troubled Berlin airport opening delayed yet again

A damaged sign is pictured at the construction site of the future Berlin Brandenburg international airport
Image caption The airport has become notorious for delays and technical problems

The opening of a new airport for the German capital Berlin has been further delayed, until 2014 at the earliest.

The airport was originally meant to open in early 2012, but has been hit by several delays and mishaps.

The cause of the latest delay is not clear, but it is reportedly related to problems with the airport's baggage handling systems.

Opposition politicians have called for Berlin's mayor to resign over the project, seen as a major embarrassment.

The new airport is destined to take over from the capital's ageing Tegel and Schoenefeld airports.

Berlin Brandenburg airport, also to be known as Willy Brandt airport after the late West German chancellor, will eventually handle up to 27 million passengers a year.

The airport was initially meant to be a showcase for the German capital, commensurate with the city's growing status as a big tourist destination and a hub of political power, says the BBC's Steve Evans in Berlin.

But it has suffered from a litany of technical problems. The initial delay in its opening was put down to a lack of check-in desks.

In June last year there was another problem when it transpired that the site's fire system was not ready.

The cost of the project has also risen, from the initial 2bn euros ($2.6bn; £1.6bn) to more than 4bn ($5.3bn; £3.2bn), with the possibility that it may rise further.

The latest delay to the opening has attracted widespread scorn in the German media.

The mass-market Bild newspaper began its coverage of the latest problems with the line: "What a disgrace! The capital is showing up the entire country!"

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