EIB lends wings to Berlin-Brandenburg Airport expansion
The Bank has signed off one of the biggest infrastructure loans in Europe to help expand the German capital's international hub. Some 20 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, this "German unity project" is set to contribute to the expansion of trans-European networks.
The EIB has approved a EUR 1 billion loan with a further 1.4 billion being provided by a number of local banks (including KfW IPEX-Bank, Investitionsbank Berlin IBB, Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg ILB, Landesbank Berlin Nord LB, DZ Bank and Berliner Volksbank) making this one of the biggest infrastructure financing operations in Europe. The loan will make it possible to expand and upgrade the existing Berlin Schönefeld airport into a major transport hub.
"The new Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BBI) is a key German unity project financed by the EIB. As the airport of Germany's capital and the greater Berlin-Brandenburg region, and as part of the trans-European networks, the EIB has accorded BBI particular priority," EIB Vice-President Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen commented on the occasion of the second loan agreement's signature on 1 July 2009. A first part of the loan agreement covering EUR 400m had already been signed in December 2008 - the second loan was for the remaining EUR 600m.
The EIB's financing is set to equip BBI with the necessary capacity to meet the expected growth in air traffic that it will face due to the closure of two inner-city airports, Tegel and Tempelhof. As a consequence of the particular history of Berlin and its division during the cold war, the city developed an airport system consisting of two airports within the city (Tegel and Tempelhof) and one outside the city (Schönefeld). This project is set to create a single aviation hub that will cater for the entire needs of the Berlin and Brandenburg area.
At the same time, concentrating air traffic in a single location outside the city, will deliver significant environmental benefits as well as improve safety for the people of the Berlin and Brandenburg areas. The Bank anticipates a further positive impact on the economic development of other parts of eastern Germany. As EU convergence regions they receive particular attention from the EIB. Improved accessibility by air and direct as well as indirect job creation are among the immediate benefits for these regions gained through the project.The project's economic viability is based on cautious traffic growth assumptions and especially takes into account the planned introduction of CO2 emission trading for civil aircraft as an environmental measure, which will make air traffic more expensive. Even without allowing for benefits of the significantly reduced number of inhabitants exposed to aircraft noise and to flight incidents, the project yields a sound economic internal rate of return. Its assessment follows the same strict criteria as the EIB's financing of other European airports