The first Vienna flight to take off from the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport landed on Sunday evening under flight number EJU 5849. This was carried out by the Austrian Easyjet Europe with an Airbus A320neo. Competitor Austrian Airlines will only move from Berlin-Tegel Airport to BER next week.
Easyjet is also the airline that carried out the official maiden flight from the new airport. This took off at 6:45 a.m. in the direction of London-Gatwick. A total of 23 departures were made from Terminal 1, which opened on Saturday. However, there were also deletions: For example, the start-up “Green Airlines” - an entrepreneurial company (limited liability) that wants to charter aircraft and sell the tickets on its own account - canceled its start just a few days ago. Therefore, the charter flights to Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden can be found on the BER display board as deleted.
Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines also carried out their first flights from BER on November 1, 2020. In total, the airport counted around 3.000 passengers on the first official day of operation, according to FBB in a broadcast. The first wave of moves from Tegel to BER is now over. In a Aviation Direct shows the terminals of BER in a detailed photo report. What Airport CEO Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, Lufthansa General Director Carsten Spohr and Easyjet CEO Johan Lundgren have said about BER and the current market situation around Corona is below this link to find.
“After the successful start-up yesterday with the first arrivals at the new Terminal 1, we handled the first departing passengers at BER this morning. In a few days, all air traffic in Berlin and Brandenburg will be concentrated at the new airport. BER offers a modern infrastructure with international standards and is therefore equipped for new connections to all continents once the Corona crisis is over ”, says airport manager Engelbert Lütke Daldrup.
As of November 4, in a second step, other airlines, including Eurowings and Vueling, which have so far still started at Tegel Airport, will switch to Terminal 1 at BER. In the third and final wave of moves, at the end of which Tegel will be closed on November 8, other airlines will follow, in particular Lufthansa with Austrian, Swiss and Brussels. Passengers traveling between November 1st and 8th are therefore asked to check with their airline or on the BER website in good time to find out from which airport and terminal they are departing or where they are arriving.
Easyjet is the first airline to serve Vienna as a destination from BER. The premiere flight took place on November 1, 2020 as EJU 5849. The G-UZHF, operated by the British Easyjet Airline Company Ltd., was used. Gate A33 was used at the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. There were a total of 49 passengers on board, so the weak demand due to the corona pandemic was clearly visible. The orange low-cost airline has not been operating in Berlin-Tegel since November 1, 2020, because the entire range of flights has already been relocated to the new BER terminal. This also includes flights that were handled in Terminal 31 (ex-Schönefeld) up to and including October 2020, 5.
Even if airport manager Engelbert Lütke Daldrup spoke of an “airport of short distances” in the course of the opening of the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, the new terminal definitely does not fulfill this. If you use the sometimes ultra-short distances in Tegel - especially in Terminal A - as a benchmark, you as a passenger cannot understand this statement. In the public area of BER, for example, there are actually only a few steps from the train station in the basement to the check-in counter or to the security check, which can also be covered mainly on escalators. After the “Siko”, the world looks completely different again: On the first display board, after the typical forced passage through a duty-free shop, the airport indicated a walk of ten minutes to Gate A33. Of course you need less than ten minutes, but the ways in the security area are long.
This is obviously also due to the fact that the individual gates - in contrast to Tegel - are extremely spacious and take up a lot of space. One could almost think that more space was made available due to Corona, but the terminal was designed many years ago. Yes, the distances are long, but the BER is characterized by a lot of space, wide corridors and many opportunities to linger. It does not create the feeling of crowding that is known from Tegel, but of space and space for every passenger and that is not due to the corona-related weak use, but to the brilliant architecture, which reminds a little bit of Tempelhof inside and out is also wanted. The BER is supposed to unite all previous Berlin airports and at the same time remind of them. For example, imposing columns and marble cannot deny their homage to Tempelhof. Various elements are also reminiscent of Tegel and Schönefeld, albeit much more subtle than pompous columns and marble slabs.
At BER, however, it is clearly visible that many business and catering establishments are either empty or closed. This is likely to be due to both the corona crisis and years of construction delays. What immediately catches the eye, however, is that, in contrast to Tegel and Terminal 5 (ex-Schönefeld) as well as Tempelhof (closed in 2008), system catering is dominant. In the terminals of the predecessor, owner-managed restaurants and some small, also owner-managed shops were more strongly represented. Of course there were chains and system restaurants there too - with the exception of Tempelhof - but not dominant.
Corona measures in the gangway do not exist
There are not many words to write about the Easyjet flight, because it was carried out unspectacularly with an Airbus A320neo. For the crew it was “business as usual” and many passengers were not even aware that it was the first flight that started at BER with the destination Vienna. With two small exceptions, the processes at BER worked perfectly, i.e. there were no “teething problems”. The exceptions are: According to their own information, the check-in staff on the computer cannot see from which gate the flight is leaving, even though boarding is already in progress according to the display board. That was of course nonsense, because boarding has not yet started. It is astonishing that the question of which gate it is around 15 minutes before “Boarding close according to boarding pass” could not be answered. Easyjet and BER have some room for improvement here in the interests of passengers.
The second point of criticism relates to the Corona measures: The ground staff paid very close attention to the fact that the clearances were observed when queuing for the boarding pass control and for this reason the passengers were sent staggered into the gangway. And then there was no more keeping your distance, because there the passengers were “temporarily stored” for about 15 minutes, in a kind of connecting piece between the terminal and the actual passenger boarding bridge. Unfortunately, this phenomenon also exists in Vienna and makes the topic of “keeping your distance” ad absurdum, as more and more passengers are moving up from behind, but the way to the plane is “blocked”. So it is forced to get tighter. In general, airlines and ground handling service providers should think about whether the procedure to “temporarily store” passengers in gangways or buses in times of Corona is appropriate. At BER it was 15 minutes, but a few weeks ago on an Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna an impressive 45 minutes in the apron bus directly at the gate. But back to BER's maiden flight to the Austrian capital: Incidentally, upon arrival, Vienna Airport referred to the new airport as “BER” and not as Berlin.
Impressions from the first Easyjet flight from BER to Vienna: