In March 2021, newly opened Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) plans to close its Terminal 5 due to low passenger numbers.

Terminal 5 will be decommissioned for one year starting from March 2021, announced the airport’s CEO Engelbert Lütke-Daldrup. The terminal should be reopened once the passenger traffic rises again. 

“In view of the poor traffic development, we have to think about whether we really need T5 in 2021,” said Lütke-Daldrup to the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost. 

The closure would primarily affect the low-cost carriers Ryanair, Condor, Wizz Air, TUI fly and SunExpress. Ryanair is the main customer in Terminal 5. It is still unclear if after the closure the airlines will be using Terminal 1 instead, where they would have to pay higher fees. 

Airport’s Terminal 2 is finished but is not yet in operation also due to the lack of passengers. However, if the traffic increases, it could be put in operation. 

Long overdue, Airport’s Terminal 1 was opened on October 31, 2020. Before the pandemic hit, Terminal 5 was to stay open for a number of years and serve the expected passenger demand. 

BER’s Terminal 5 is the terminal building of the former Schönefeld airport (SXF), which was built in the 1970s and served as a secondary international airport after Berlin Tegel. In 2020, only 30% of passengers have flown to Berlin Airports compared to the previous year. Currently only a fifth of the flights are being operated. 

The Berlin Brandenburg Airport Company is desperately looking for ways to save operating costs. BER is already dependent on government’s financial aid and is well behind the initial business plan to break even in 2025. The airport management determined a financial requirement for the coming year of up to €660 million.

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