DFS is preparing for opening of new Berlin airport

Professor Dr.-Ing. Engelberg Lütke Daltrup, Chief Executive Officer of the airport operator Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB), announced the opening date of the new airport of Germany’s capital city on Friday. The German air navigation service provider, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), is again getting ready for an opening.

29.11.2019.- The DFS Board of Managing Directors was glad to hear the announcement of the opening of the new Berlin airport (BER) by the FBB executive board. “After years of uncertainty and repeated postponements, we now have a solid basis for planning”, said Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS. “We are looking forward to the opening of the airport in October next year. DFS has already started preparing. At the end of the day, we need the external environment to be predictable to be able to work.”

A host of changes
Since 25 March 2012, traffic at Berlin Schönefeld Airport has been handled from the new tower built for the new airport (BER). Since the originally planned opening eight years ago, external conditions at BER have fundamentally changed. Air traffic in Germany’s capital has increased by 20 percent since 2012, while the passenger volume has surged by almost 40 percent. As a consequence, many changes had to be implemented on the ground, from the introduction of a virtual boundary across the main apron up to the continued use of the Schönefeld terminal.

This has caused new operational challenges for DFS. One of them is that aircraft now have to be sorted in the air instead of on the ground to avoid long taxiways and unnecessary crossings. “This makes the daily work of the air traffic controllers significantly more complex. “We will therefore use the first year to gain experience, and then adapt operational procedures where necessary,” said Scheurle.

“DFS will be ready”
The training for the future flight and taxi procedures at BER will be conducted in simulators, which have been tailored to the air traffic controllers concerned, both in the Bremen control centre and BER tower. For the training of the tower controllers in Berlin, DFS has set up a special 3D simulator on site. “In view of the traffic increase, it is a challenge to train all air traffic controllers for the BER procedures while maintaining unrestricted operations at the two Berlin airports. But we have prepared for this situation and will be ready on time, just as in 2012,” said the CEO.

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Since 25 March 2012, traffic at Berlin Schönefeld Airport has been handled from the new tower built for the new airport (BER).

The air traffic controllers at the DFS control centre in Bremen handle the entire airspace over northern Germany, including approaches to and departures from the airports in Berlin.

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,500 employees as at 30 June 2019. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, more than three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. DFS has been working on the integration of drones into air traffic since 2016 and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. www.dfs.de