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First “passengers” to test new Berlin Brandenburg Airport

  10.02.2012    

Trial operations involving volunteer testers officially began this week. On 7 February, 116 days before the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens, the first passengers checked in. Approximately 250 airport testers simulated departing passengers. All the processes involved in a normal flight were tested, from check-in to security checks and boarding.
“Starting this week, we will spend almost four months checking all the aspects of normal flight operations at BER. From now on until May, 10,000 airport testers will play the role of passengers and help us to simulate the processes at Berlin Brandenburg Airport as realistically as possible,” said Prof. Dr Rainer Schwarz, CEO of Berlin Brandenburg Airport. “We are very pleased with how the first days went because most of our processes worked well. The vast majority of testers gave us positive feedback and made valuable comments which we will now assess and integrate in future simulations.” 
“During trial operations at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, we will try out all our systems and processes,” explained Dr Manfred A. Körtgen, Managing Director of Operations/BBI at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. “Our aim is to identify and rectify any errors in the workflows before the airport opens. With the help of the pretend passengers, we want to pave the way for real operations to commence as smoothly as possible on 3 June.”
 
Schedule for trial operations using airport testers 
Following a safety briefing and an explanation of the day’s schedule, the volunteers were allowed to enter the new terminal as its first wave of passengers. Simulated departures on the first day included flights to Vienna, Munich and London operated by airberlin, Lufthansa and easyJet respectively. Allocated to the various flights, the airport testers headed for their check-in desks pushing trolleys laden with suitcases which were provided for the test run. After checking in their luggage and receiving their boarding passes, they went through the security checkpoints operated by the German border police. Once through security, the testers proceeded to the main pier at the other end of the terminal, where they simulated boarding at their gate.  
As well as practising the normal procedure from check-in to security and boarding, some airport testers were given “event cards” to enact exceptional scenarios. These special situations included withdrawing from a flight after checking in and asking to change seats when boarding. 
The new airport will be tested between November 2011 and May 2012. Trial runs with volunteers commenced on 7 February. Around 10,000 airport testers will test all operational procedures, from check-in to security checks to arrivals and departures. In total, 18,000 people from the area volunteered to participate in the test runs. 
Over 100,000 check-ins will be simulated and up to 300,000 pieces of luggage will be sorted by the baggage system before the opening of the airport. In total, over 500 processes will be tested.   
Work has been under way since September 2006 to transform Schönefeld Airport into the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. From 3 June 2012, this airport in South-East Berlin will handle all flights to and from the Berlin Brandenburg region. As step one of the process, Tempelhof Airport was closed on 30 October 2008. Tegel and Schönefeld Airports will be closed in 2012 when BER opens.


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