Your Flight From 2012 Is Now Ready For Boarding

What do you mean? Berlin’s party joke phantom airport may be opening after all?

Airport

Too bad I didn’t keep our plane tickets from 2012 as souvenirs. They showed us departing from Los Angeles (LAX) and arriving at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which was just about to open. But the launch, already delayed the previous year, was again called off at the last minute. So we landed instead at the charming but small Tegel airport (TXL) that dates back to the early Cold War…

To pessimists, BER symbolizes Germany’s bad developments. Its highly publicized bureaucratic and engineering fiascoes have dented the country’s former reputation — not always entirely flattering — of being relentlessly meticulous and punctual. The subtext is that Germany, whether it’s building airports or algorithms, is increasingly leaving economic dynamism to others, especially China.

To optimists, this too is part of Germany’s long historical arc to “normality.” Germans today are more relaxed about their national identity and place in the world than they’ve ever been. That explains why they’ve also been nonchalant about BER’s travails. The truth is, many Germans have secretly been savoring the airport headlines as a font of gossip. Many an awkward dinner party has been saved by boozy debates about whether humans would set foot on Mars before disembarking at BER, or whether it would be more cost-effective to rebuild the capital near a working airport.

Must Be The Same Company That Built Berlin’s Airport

That took (is taking?) absolutely forever. But sheesh. To take the next 1,000 years to build a stupid time pyramid? Talk about your long term planning.

Pyramid

Germans Are Building a Time Pyramid Over the Next 1,000 Years – A locally crowdfunded “time pyramid” in southern Germany will be completed brick by brick over the next 1,000 years. The project is an interesting symbol of several intersecting ideas. Can you guarantee future generations will comply with very long-term plans? How will the large concrete bricks hold up to a millennium of weather and beyond?

Speaking Of Construction Projects…

So just let me get this straight. After one year Egypt has opened a major expansion of the freakin’ Suez Canal, deepening the waterway and providing ships with a 22 mile channel parallel to it.

Suez

Meanwhile, in Berlin…

The non-working airport, Berlin Brandenburg International (some prefer to call it Klaus Wowereit International), should have started working three years ago. It may start working in two years’ time. No one knows.

The most important thing to remember is German efficiency – both the term and concept – exists in our English-speaking world but not in theirs. You never hear Germans talking about German efficiency. Anyone who lives in Berlin knows why… While Germany may have a system for everything, Berlin proves every day there’s no system for when the system fails.