- 9 March 2015
Public Program | "Germany's Troublesome Construction Sites - Limits of Feasibility or Political Mistakes?“
On March 9, 2015, Hartmut Mehdorn, the CEO of the new Berlin airport Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (BER), was the guest for a discussion with Rüdiger Lentz at the China Club Berlin. Their topic was “Germany’s Troublesome Construction Sites – Limits of Feasibility or Political Mistakes?”
Hartmut Mehdorn blamed the media for their biased coverage of the developments surrounding the airport’s construction. He said that delays and increased costs were a common phenomenon of construction projects of this scale, especially if – as in the case of the airport BER – the final project would be far bigger than originally planned. Furthermore, the project had been enormously politicized due to the involvement of Berlin’s mayor.
Mehdorn named a number of obstacles during the construction process: conflicts of interest between the three shareholders; the extreme complexity of the German construction law, which was not suitable for major projects; the successive enlargement of the airport during its construction; as well as a lack of leadership and overview on the management level. He said that he had been the first to set up a functioning management and that he had built up effective reporting structures. According to him, the airport was on the right track now to be finished by spring 2016 and, after a phase of tests, finally to be opened in mid-2017. He was convinced that the airport would become a landmark of Berlin and that Berliners would be proud of it.
Despite the many challenges during his career, Mehdorn said that he would do everything exactly the same way in his “next life“. When asked what he was going to do after his resignation as CEO, he answered that he was looking forward to finally doing many things he had previously never found the time for.