The new Berlin airport will open its doors this Saturday in midst of the pandemic.

The new Berlin airport will receive its first planes this Saturday, with nine years of delay and great concerns at a time when the air sector is suffering the worst crisis in its history due to the covid-19 pandemic.

See also: Heathrow airport loses crown as the busiest airport in Europe.

“We are ready to take off”, assured the management of the platform that will replace the two current airports of the German capital, Tegel et Schönefeld.

Satisfaction but without triumphalism, since the construction of the “BER”, begun in 2006, chains failures, negligence and delays. Located in the southeast of the capital, it should have been inaugurated in 2011, AFP reported.

See also: The European aviation industry is testing a system to exchange flight information in real time.

As if the effects of the pandemic were not enough, the shadow of the climate crisis appears.

The environmental group “Extinction Rebellion” announced actions of “civil disobedience” on the day of the inauguration, denouncing the impact of aviation on global warming.

In this context, “we will simply open, there will be no party”, explained Engelbert Lütke-Daldrup, president of the Berlin airports management company.

Lufthansa and Easyjet will be the first two companies to land planes, announced in the early afternoon, on the runway of the third airport in the country, after Frankfurt and Munich.

In terminal 1, 200 employees work to disinfect the 360,000 m2 of the complex, days before the opening. A hundred hydroalcoholic gel dispensers were installed and robots clean the floor tirelessly.

Hanging from the ceiling, the “magic carpet”, a monumental work by American artist Pae White, gives a touch of carmine red to the still empty lobby.

Operators are betting on the transit of 27 million people a year for Terminal 1. But in November, due to the pandemic, only 20% of normal flight capacity is expected. Terminal 2 will remain closed until spring 2021.

About 15 stores and restaurants will not open on opening day, due to the crisis. Others will adopt “reduced opening hours”, due to the low number of visitors to the airport, a spokesman told AFP.

This worries airport managers, whose initial cost, estimated at 1.7 billion euros ($2 billion), has increased to 6.5 billion ($7.65 billion).