In 1989 David Hasselhof stood atop the Berlin Wall belting out “Looking for Freedom.” Less than a year later East Germans were finally free.
Thirty one years after David Hasselhof stood between East and West Berlin the East’s old airport finally became Berlin Brandenburg airport, replacing Berlin Tegel. It’s a costly reminder of East German-style planning. Requests for proposals to build the new Berlin airport on the site of the old East German Schönefeld went out in 1997. It took 23 three years and more than tripled its budget to over $8 billion.
Credit, Muns, via Wikimedia Commons
As the airport was developed the construction punch list ballooned to 550,000 items. Finally with everything signed off on, it may still have problems even as the airport is now in use. Staff are getting electrocuted and some are now calling for the airport to be shut back down.
The passenger terminal at the city’s new airport may be just under three months old but trade union Verdi already wants it closed for improvements – security contractor Securitas says its employees are routinely receiving electric shocks while moving passengers through security gates.
Eleven such incidents – four of which required assistance from emergency personnel – occurred on Monday, 6 January, alone. More than 60 have been recorded since the airport opened – and federal police confirmed that there were problems with electrostatic charges.
…Securitas security guards report severe pain, numbness and drowsiness following the electrocutions, the union official said: “Several times, injured people had to be transported via ambulance to nearby hospitals.
Carry on bag checks at terminal 1 have been identified as a source of electrostatic discharges.
X-ray machines where hand luggage is transported on a conveyor belt shock users though not all baggage screening equipment is to blame. Others are notorious for it, Roscher said, with equipment in the main hall in T1 as well as the neighbouring pavilion affected. Unlucky passengers can also fall victim to the shocks, Roscher said.
Employees are told that they should wear electrostatic discharge shoes, and have been given statis-resistant key rings. This hasn’t helped. A union wants travel shifted to the old Schönefeld terminal 5. The airport’s operator says no.