BERLIN, March 2 Berlin's long-delayed new
airport could be facing further hold-ups, after a supervisory
board meeting on the future of the chief executive ended late on
Wednesday night without agreement among the project's owners.
Without seeking approval of the airport supervisory board,
CEO Karsten Muehlenfeld last week replaced the airport's
technical chief, Joerg Marks, with outsider and former Deutsche
Bahn manager Christoph Bretschneider.
The airport's management has said the decision was within
its mandate and that it informed the supervisory board, led by
Berlin mayor Michael Mueller, a day in advance.
The supervisory board, made up of labour representatives and
politicians representing the federal state owners, met late on
Wednesday to discuss the issue but broke off talks at around
midnight after they failed to reach a decision. They will meet
again on Monday.
The new international airport has been beset by delays
caused by red tape and technical problems, including issues with
smoke ventilation systems, cabling and more recently doors.
The city is currently served by two former cold war airports
- Tegel in the north west of Berlin and Schoenefeld to the south
east of the city. Tegel is due to close once the new airport
In January, Muehlenfeld scrapped plans to open at the end of
this year and has yet to set a new opening date.
CDU politician Stefan Evers on Thursday said Muehlenfeld
should remain in office or further delays could result.
"The airlines also see it that way. It's characteristic of
(Berlin mayor) Mueller to ignore the advice of experts," he said
in a statement.
Muehlenfeld defended the replacement of Marks in an
interview last week, saying he took the decision in order to
speed up construction and so that he could deliver a reliable
"How can I stick to (an opening date) when the construction
team has torn up every date in the last few months?" he told
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Toby Davis)