Berlin's long-delayed Brandenburg Airport was this week given the go-ahead to begin operations on October 31, 2020, with many airlines shifting across from Berlin Tegel – now slated to close, at least temporarily, on June 1– to the newly-minted BER airport.
The rolling impact of the coronavirus pandemic will mean a subdued start for Berlin Brandenburg, which began construction 14 years ago and was first due to open in June 2012, but it'll be a start which includes new lounges from Lufthansa and, potentially, a Oneworld-branded lounge.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport's Lufthansa lounges
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will all begin flying from Berlin Brandenburg Terminal 1 in the week commencing October 31, having previously planned a staged move from Tegel through to November 8.
“Going forward, BER should not have the significant bottlenecks at security checks that were recently the case at Tegel," suggest Lufthansa Group exec Harry Hohmeister. "A centrally organised security checkpoint, more modern technologies at the control lanes and more spacious terminals should make the processes more efficient."
Business and first class flyers, Miles & More members holding top-tier status along with their Star Alliance Gold siblings will enjoy access to a sprawling Lufthansa lounge at Terminal 1's Main Pier North.
The 1,600 square metre footprint will be divided into seperate Business Lounge and Senator Lounge spaces, both with panoramic windows affording sweeping views across the airfield and the Berlin skyline beyond.
Other Star Alliance airlines, including LOT, SAS and United, are expected to join Lufthansa and co at Brandenburg Terminal 1, while Lufthansa's low-cost arm Eurowings is headed to Terminal 2.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport to have a Oneworld lounge?
Several members of the Oneworld alliance will also make Berlin Brandenburg their new home at the German capital: among them British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, S7 and Qatar Airways.
British Airways currently has a lounge at Tegel, but a spokesman for the airline was unable to confirm there'd be a BA lounge at Brandenburg, telling Executive Traveller only that "we will definitely have a lounge proposition for customers."
Oneworld is intent on building out its network of own-branded lounges – the first of which is slated for Moscow's Domodedovo Airport – and Brandenburg certainly fits the criteria which Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney laid out to Executive Traveller when the program was first announced.
"The idea is that we develop these where no single airline has a massive presence, but we have multiple airlines flying into the same airport, maybe with daily flights. So while collectivity we (as Oneworld) have a lot of flights, no single airline could justify the cost of the lounge."
(Ironically, Brandenburg was originally set to be the home hub of Oneworld member AirBerlin before the challenger airline collapsed in October 2017.)
Gurney also called out new or redeveloped terminals and airports as offering a suitable launchpad for Oneworld lounges, at the time suggesting there were "around 15 to 30 opportunities globally."
Approached for comment by Executive Traveller, a Oneworld spokeswoman would say only that the alliance "continues in discussions with several partners for potential Oneworld branded lounges, and will communicate further details once we are in a position to do so."
Also read: The evolution of alliance lounges