Both runways back in use at Berlin Airport from December 1

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Berlin Airport brings its second runway back into operation on December 1, reflecting an expected increase in traffic and signalling a return to more normal operations. 

The airport operator also says the decision will help to ensure operations over the winter months.  

The much-delayed BER finally opened in October 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, the airport shut its more southerly runway (07R/25L) to save costs in the light of reduced traffic.  

In April 2020, BER started alternating the use of the northern (07L/25R) and southern runways on a monthly basis. Now, both runways are coming back into full time operation.  

The airport said that while it recorded between 3,000 and 4,600 monthly flight movements between December 2020 and March 2021, it is expecting twice as many take-offs and landings in the winter of 2021/2022. 

The decision will also help it to manage winter operations better. In the event of snow or ice, it can keep one runway open while it clears the others.  

“Using one runway in recent months was necessary from a business point of view and easily done from an operations point of view,” Aletta von Massenbach, chief executive of airport operator FBB said in a statement. “But looking ahead to the winter months, especially taking into consideration the expected increase in passengers next year, we need both runways” 

Von Massenbach added that using both runways simultaneously would help winter operations and also employees get used to procedures, thus bringing the airport back to some semblance of normality. 

Berlin Airport has struggled to cope with spikes in traffic, with not enough staff in place due to the pandemic. During the October school vacations, long lines at check-in meant many passengers missed flights, while others were left waiting hours for baggage.  

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