Ber-start in the crisis: job cuts and financial hole

Ber-start in the crisis: job cuts and financial hole

The berlin-brandenburg airport company will need even more financial assistance after the start of the new BER airport than previously planned. The severe crisis in the aviation industry has rendered previous assumptions meaningless.

The state-owned company is embarking on a cost-cutting course and is counting on further millions in subsidies from berlin, brandenburg and the federal government.

Previous business plans were completely irrelevant, supervisory board chairman rainer bretschneider said on friday after a meeting of the control committee nine weeks before the planned start of operations at the new capital city airport. Bretschneider: "we have a completely new situation."

And the situation is reportedly as follows: an unprecedented slump in passenger numbers in the worst aviation crisis since the second world war, no prospect of recovery any time soon, and continued costs from BER because it will take years to settle all the accounts. There is little chance that banks will now offer the airport loans on acceptable terms.

The countermeasures: staff reductions, postponement and cancellation of investments, government grants.

"We will cut about 400 jobs in the next few years," announced managing director engelbert lutke daldrup. This is to be done on the basis of a social contract and without compulsory redundancies – for example, by no longer filling the positions of colleagues who have resigned, retired or whose contracts are not being renewed. Already this year, 124 positions will be eliminated after a hiring freeze.

In a few years, 1700 to 1800 people will still be working for the state-owned company, according to the plan. Even before the corona crisis, it was clear that the company would reduce its workforce once BER was up and running. Because tegel, one of the two airport sites, will be abandoned in november.

Now the savings course is being tightened. Already this year, the number of employees will be reduced by 124, said lutke daldrup. Between 50 and 60 million euros have been saved in the company. 250 to 260 million euros needed from the owners, said lutke daldrup. These are the states of berlin and brandenburg and the federal government.

For the next year, the calculation looks like this: more than 200 million euros in savings in the company, 375 million euros from the owners – at least, because the business plan is subject to scenarios on the course of the corona pandemic. This is the favorable scenario assuming that there is a vaccine already in winter.

The middle of the three scenarios is more likely, said lutke daldrup. Then berlin in the course of the year was about half the number of passengers of 2019, when it was just under 35.6 million. Up to now, the responsible parties thought that the airport would recover its costs from 2024 or 2025 onwards. No one talks about that now. Closer to home, the airport controllers want to make this happen on 9. October, auberdem discusses in a january retreat.

Then it was also allowed to become clearer which investments would be postponed. Because more and more people had flown to and from berlin in recent years, plans were made for a further terminal in schonefeld in the 2020s. The plans for this terminal 3 could now possibly be put in the drawer for the time being.

Currently, about 30,000 passengers a day fly into tegel and schonefeld airports, which is about 25 to 30 percent of the previous year’s figure. "We are expecting slightly lower figures again in the fall," said lutke daldrup. The reason, he said, was increasing travel warnings and the decision by the federal government and the states to tighten quarantine rules and end free corona testing at airports.

If nothing else happens, the new capital airport will open on 31 december. October in the middle of the crisis. Due to the unflattering history of tree fishing and canceled opening dates, no rough celebration is planned. "It will be a small event," said lutke daldrup. The meeting was attended by "the heads of the shareholders, the supervisory board and a number of other partners in the process". Also the farewell to tegel airport on 8. November will be smaller than expected, says lutke daldrup.

Lufthansa and easyjet will be the first to bring passengers to the new capital airport BER. Aircraft of the two airlines are scheduled to arrive on 31. October simultaneously touching down on both runways and docking at the new terminal in schonefeld, as announced by the airport company. The first takeoffs should be the next day by easyjet. Whether the additional T2 terminal can go online in november is to be decided in september.

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