About 20,000 people were accepted for the trials, but current Coronavirus rules have forced that number to be reduced to 9,000. The new test run dates have yet to be announced. Dr-Ing Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, commented: “The corona pandemic not only poses new challenges for flight operations, but also for trial runs at BER. Health and safety are our main priority. This does not only apply to the test phase. Distancing and hygiene regulations in flight operations will probably be in place for a long time. Unfortunately, these conditions mean that we can only offer about half the planned volunteers the opportunity to get to know BER before it is commissioned. Nevertheless, we will ensure a sufficient test phase so that we can safely and reliably put BER into operation on 31 October.” The airport said that all participants that were registered for the trial run have been notified of the changes by email. Their individual registrations have been cancelled and, to ensure that the remaining places are allocated as fairly as possible, the remaining dates with reduced places will be released for booking again later in June. To begin with, all participants who had a confirmed trial run day will be given the priority opportunity to re-register first. Those on the waiting lists will be given the next opportunity. General applications will only become available after those first two processes are complete.
Meanwhile, Berlin’s historic Tegel Airport (TXL) will revert to its October 2020 closure date after experiencing a sudden rise in passenger numbers. With the protracted delay in completing BER, Tegel was scheduled to close in the autumn. However, in May 2020, the city’s government announced that dwindling traffic meant that all flights could be handled by the city’s other airport - Schönefeld (SXF), and that Tegel would close on 15 June.