Service and Operations Management

Berlin Brandenburg International Airport

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Just after German reunification in 1990, plans were made for a single, new airport to concentrate all the traffic of the new capital Berlin. Twenty-five years later, Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BER) was still not operational. The project was amassing mistakes and had already seen four delays, due mainly to the fire detection system. At the end of December 2014, the Supervisory Board announced that the airport would finally open in the second half of 2017 - more than six years after the initially planned date. The new plan would be implemented by the airport operator's new CEO, Karsten Mühlenfeld. Everybody wondered whether he could finally get the airport operational and save its image. Or, like his predecessors, would he too be unable to control the project's chaos and complexity?
Bibliographic citation: Teworte, Victoria; Martínez de Albéniz, Victor, "Berlin Brandenburg International Airport", IESE, P-1142-E, 07/2015
Date: 23/07/2015
Author(s): Teworte, Victoria; Martínez de Albéniz, Victor
Document type: Case
Department: Production, Technology and Operations Management
Sector: Air transport
Languages: Spanish / English
Year of the events: 2012-2015
Geographic area: Germany
Learning objective The case discusses a project under development that has entered a crisis: cost overruns, delays, and a lack of visibility about what might happen in the future. The case can be used to deal with topics about innovation and risk management in project management. Specifically, the following can be discussed: (1) whether the plan and organization were suitable; (2) where the project's a priori risks were and what contingencies were planned; (3) whether the reaction was appropriate; and (4) what must be done from now on. The case contains contextual elements for a vibrant qualitative discussion about the management focus (planning vs. implementation) and the organization, as well as quantitative elements for taking measurements of the project (capacity, times).