Berlin airport CEO fired after delays to opening

January 16, 2013 - 2:32 PM
Germany Berlin Airport

FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2012 file picture, the chief executive of Berlin's airports Rainer Schwarz, stands at Schoenefeld airport, Berlin. The chief executive of Berlin's airports has been fired following a decision to delay yet again the opening of the German capital's new airport - a fiasco that has deeply embarrassed local officials. The chairman of the airport operator's supervisory board, Brandenburg state governor Matthias Platzeck, said after directors met Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013 that CEO Rainer Schwarz had left the company. Officials said last week they wouldn't be able to open the new airport, just outside Berlin, on Oct. 27 - the fourth delay as builders struggle with technical problems. (AP Photo/dapd/ Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert,File)

BERLIN (AP) — The chief executive of Berlin's airports was fired Wednesday following a decision to delay yet again the opening of the German capital's new hub, a fiasco that has deeply embarrassed local officials.

The new chairman of the airport operator's supervisory board, Brandenburg state governor Matthias Platzeck, said directors decided at a meeting Wednesday to dismiss CEO Rainer Schwarz with immediate effect.

Officials said last week they wouldn't be able to open the new airport, just outside Berlin, on Oct. 27 this year— the fourth delay, and the third in less than a year. Planners and builders are struggling with technical problems, above all an elaborate fire safety system.

Platzeck said it will likely be "a few months" before they can name a new date for the opening.

Airport planning chief Horst Amann said the airport may not even be ready next year — "perhaps rather 2015," he told ZDF television.

Platzeck and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, his predecessor as board chairman, have survived confidence votes in their state legislatures since last week's decision.

The new Willy Brandt airport is supposed to replace the city's two aging and increasingly cramped airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, which served West and East Berlin respectively during Germany's Cold War division.

It was first scheduled to open in late 2011.