Regardless of the reason, Mehdorn's resignation caught German officials off guard."I'm very surprised by this step," Frank Henkel, the Berlin senator for internal affairs and member of the airport company's supervisory board, says to The Wall Street Journal."Everyone was aligned last Friday that progress in the construction was most important, not personal issues."Stay tuned …DEUTSCHE WELLE: Berlin Airport: The five biggest mistakes Few other details were given for his decision, though Deutsche Welle reports "observers have repeatedly spoken of major differences with the board over the timing of the airport's opening and its size." The news network adds the airport board reportedly balked at Mehdorn's plan to make the new airport bigger.
The airport, officially dubbed the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), is to replace Berlin's two smaller airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld.In resigning, Mehdorn offered a somewhat cryptic explanation that "speculations about his person" that exceeded "tolerable levels," according to Deutsche Welle.Originally planned to open in 2010, the airport has encountered a series of delays and cost overruns due to poor construction planning, management, and execution, and corruption.Berlin Brandenburg Airport is located just south of Berlin Schönefeld Airport, which opened as an airfield to accommodate the local Henschel aircraft plant on 15 October 1934.During the Battle of Berlin, on 22 April 1945, Soviet troops occupied the airfield.
In 1946, the headquarters of the Soviet Air Forces moved to Schönefeld from Johannisthal Air Field, and commercial flights (initially by Aeroflot) began.Despite – perhaps because of – the delays and the unfolding issues, there is a steady stream of people eager to pay 10 euros – about .60 – to go on the "BER Experience" bus tour, which is offered four days a week, in German only.Tour buses stop first at a 105-foot-tall observation tower offering a bird's-eye view of the unopened airport terminal, the unused runways, empty parking lots and assorted other facilities-in-waiting.Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the German federal capital and leaders made plans to recognise the city's increased importance by constructing a large commercial airport, as Tegel Airport, Schönefeld Airport and Tempelhof Airport were aging and becoming increasingly congested due to rising passenger numbers.To ensure the economical viability of the project, they pursued the single airport concept, that is, the new airport would become the sole commercial airport for Berlin and Brandenburg.In this picture taken May 16, 2012, a red flag flies at the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport.