airberlin has filed a request for a declaratory judgment against the Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH at Potsdam Regional Court.
In bringing this action, Germany’s second largest airline is seeking judicial confirmation of the airline’s entitlement to damages as a result of the postponement of the opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg airport (BER). The airport operator failed to comply with the agreed opening date of 3 June 2012 and has since postponed the opening several times.
airberlin’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hartmut Mehdorn stated: “We have decided to bring our claim for damages through the courts. Over the course of the last several months we held many intensive discussions with the airport operator in which we strove to find a mutually acceptable solution. Unfortunately, no such agreement could be reached despite extensive efforts on the part of airberlin. As a result, legal action is now the only feasible route open to airberlin in order to safeguard its interests. As the management team it is our duty both to the company and to its shareholders to prevent losses.”
airberlin is sustaining considerable damage as a result of the delayed launch of the new airport, which can not be fully quantified at this stage. The overall damage, which consists of multiple factors, is also in part dependent on the continuing operations at Berlin-Tegel, in particular during the winter months. The estimated additional costs and other losses incurred to date already run into the tens of millions.
airberlin undertook its flight planning for Berlin on the basis of the infrastructure of the new BER airport and the opening date assured by the airport operator. This led the market leader in the German capital to add more than 230 additional flights per week to its Berlin schedule in summer 2012 with the aim of expanding its international hub. All of these flights must now fly through Berlin-Tegel, the infrastructure of which is not designed to handle such demand, necessitating considerable additional costs for airberlin. Tegel is already operating at the limits of its capacity and even with the most committed engagement of the airport staff, it offers neither the capacity nor the quality that the new airport would provide.