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Berlin has some truly atrocious, horrifying things in its past—its airports.
They’re just bad and ancient.
Tegel airport, for example,
is worse rated on Google than the nearby prison.
And Schönefeld, meanwhile, is worse rated than Aleppo airport which is in an active war-zone.
But why are there two bad airports instead of just one?
Well, that’s because, decades ago,
it was rather difficult to get from this side of Berlin to this side.
Basically, World War Two ended,
the city was split up into zones administered by the different allies.
And the Soviets figuring that making their bit of the city not-suck would be harder,
just built a wall to stop everyone from leaving for West Berlin.
因此 西柏林有两座机场 腾伯尔霍夫机场和泰格尔机场
Given that, there were the airports for West Berlin, Tempelhof and Tegal,
and there was the airport for East Berlin, Schönefeld.
When the wall became not, the city, therefore had three airports,
one of which closed down in 2008.
This was inefficient,
so the city decided to build one, big, not-sucky airport.
After many committees and conferences and comments,
they decided on a site.
They would build the new airport directly south of the old Schönefeld airport,
and that way they could use one of the old runways for the new airport.
Fast forward to 2012,
the era of Gangham Style, Honey Boo Boo, and the end of the world,
the airport was nearly finished,
so Berlin got ready for a massive moving operation.
On the night on June 2nd,
the last-ever aircraft would land at each of Berlin’s bad, old airports,
and then, throughout the night,
all the people and equipment from them would drive their way over to the new Brandenburg Airport.
The planning for this move had been going on for years.
The city would close major highways.
TV networks were arranging live coverage.
Extra staff had been hired.
Airlines had sold tickets from the new airport for months.
Lufthansa planned a celebratory A380 flight to mark the first arrival to the new airport.
Angela Merkel was scheduled to attend an opening ceremony.
It was all about to happen,
until just 26 days before move,
the word came down that it would not happen,
the opening was delayed.
That was 2012.
Nowadays, in 2019,
新机场 柏林勃兰登堡机场 依旧距离开幕遥遥无期
that new airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, is still nowhere near opening.
Here’s what happened with this fire festival of an airport.
Construction began on September 5, 2006.
Bob and the other builders worked relatively fast,
and by 2011, the airport was looking enough like an airport
that they started tests,
where more than 10,000 volunteers would check-in a bag,
go through security, board a dummy plane,
and then go and collect their bags at the baggage claim.
The airport looked like it was almost ready for opening,
and shops were already leased out and getting ready for opening,
but that’s when problems emerged.
In what was thought to be the final days of construction,
a lot of what was going on
was certifying that different aspects of the airport wouldn’t kill people.
That’s the job of cars—the worst method of transportation (don’t @ me.)
The German inspectors, though, were especially concerned with making sure
that the airport’s fire alarm and suppression system was up to snuff.
Given that only 15 years earlier,
the worst airport fire in the history of airport fires
had destroyed much of Düsseldorf Airport elsewhere at Germany.
于是 他们通过释放烟雾 播放我的磁带 模拟了一场火灾
Therefore,they simulated a fire by releasing smoke and my mixtape.
Some alarms went off, many did not,
some others went off but in the complete wrong part of the building,
and it turned out that the mess of wiring that was causing all these alarm issues
was in and of itself, a fire hazard.
And apparently the inspectors didn’t subscribe to the “fight fire with fire” methodology.
It was also found
that the vents built to suck out smoke just simply didn’t work,
and would likely implode in a real fire.
Long story short, the airport’s fire system was a complete failure.
The fire inspectors felt it worthwhile to point out
that the nearby Tropical Islands Resort, a waterpark,
had a more complicated fire suppression system that actually worked,
the implication being that the waterpark was better designed than the airport.
The project managers desperately wanted to open on time, though,
so they proposed that, instead of having an alarm system,
they would hire 800 low-paid workers to stand around the terminal
and act as “fire spotters.”
As much as I appreciate them writing my jokes for me,
the inspectors didn’t and said, “Hell nein.”
The next day, 26 days before opening,
the airport’s opening was delayed.
Over the next few years,
opening was delayed and delayed and delayed again,
as they just couldn’t fix that fire system.
It emerged that there were other issues as well, though.
There weren’t enough check-in desks
for the expected passenger numbers.
4,000 doors were numbered incorrectly.
And for a period in 2015,
construction workers weren’t even allowed in the building,
because they were worried the roof could collapse.
Another huge issue, though, emerged in 2017.
The whole idea of the airport was to act as a large hub airport for Europe,
where passengers would connect from flight to flight.
All the financial calculations were based on this.
For example, the revenue of shops was figuring that
many passengers would be connecting through
which would have them lingering around longer.
The big crucial detail, though,
was that there was only one airline with a hub in Berlin.
That was Air Berlin.
And in late 2017, Air Berlin became insolvent and shut down.
Therefore, Berlin’s major hub airport would have no airline hubs.
And with no airline hubs, there would be barely any connecting passengers.
The delays and their implications have become comical at this point.
In 2018, the airport had to replace 750 screens for departure boards
at a cost of more than $ 500,000
since they had left them on continuously for 6 years,
and they had reached the end of their service lives.
Today, in 2019,
the fire suppression system still is not working,
and the current official opening date of October 2020
is looking less and less realistic.
Some have even suggested
that the airport will never open and will just be torn down completely.
Inside, though, the airport still sits there,
looking close to brand new,
but yet completely nonfunctional,
A modern, $ 8.5 billion airport that has never had a single passenger.
Back when Berlin was split in two,
the Soviets blocked the Western allies’supply routes into West Berlin,
so there began a massive operation
to fly in every bit of supplies that West Berlin needed by plane,
and what came to be known as the Berlin airlift.
It was an absolutely massive and fascinating operation.
And luckily, there’s a great book about it called, “the Candy Bombers.”
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