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The opening of the new Berlin airport delayed until 2013

BERLIN – The opening of the new airport Berlin Willy Brandt was again postponed: it will enter service in March 2013, announced the mayor of Berlin on Thursday.

The authorities had announced last week that the airport could open on June 3 as previously scheduled due to fire safety problems, but it could probably be put into service in August. Its opening was originally scheduled for late 2011.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, announced that the opening date was now set for March 17, 2013.

The authorities hope that the airport, named after the late mayor of West Berlin and German Chancellor Willy Brandt, a further step in the reunification of the city long divided. It should replace the aging Berlin airports Tegel and Schönefeld.

Technical director of the airport, Manfred Körtgen, was sacked by the board of the airport, according to German news agency DAPD.

The postponement of the opening date creates an “unpleasant situation” that damages the image of the region, lamented Matthias Platzeck, governor of Brandenburg, which includes the airport, built on the southern outskirts of Berlin . The new opening date has been decided in consultation with major airlines, he said.

The airport will accommodate 27 million passengers a year.

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