So confident were the German authorities that the airport would be ready in time for June 2012 that international airlines were already including it in their schedules. Then, just three and a half weeks before the grand opening ceremony, with posters already up around the city, came the abrupt announcement that the fire safety system wasn’t working, and the airport’s first flight would be delayed indefinitely.
Ever since, despite road signs around the city pointing the way to the new terminal, it has remained resolutely closed. Now it needs a government bail-out of around €1.1 billion (£907m), according to Berliner Zeitung newspaper – almost as much as its original budget of €1.2 billion.
The project has already gone a staggering €3.5 billion over budget, and the latest bail-out will push costs to almost €6 billion.