We have all heard the familiar drone of the airport announcement, uttering the dreadful words: Your flight has been delayed. We groan at the announcement and feel personally affronted by the news.
So spare a thought for the citizens of Berlin. For the last six years, they have been waiting. Each year, they have heard the familiar drone and made the familiar groan. For them, it is no airplane that is delayed. Rather, the entire airport.
The Berlin Brandenburg Airport was intended to open in October 2011, at a cost of €2Bn. Five and a half years later, it is still not open.
The projected total cost now stands at more than €6Bn. After six delayed openings, the airport is now scheduled to take off, and commence operations in 2018.
The hold up has been a cavalcade of comedic errors. Currently, the reason given for the delay is the doors. More than a thousand doors need to be refitted to ensure proper closure in a fire.
But this is just another in a long line of excuses. Whether it is crumbling car parks, faulty fire-safety walls or even missing check-in counters, each month brings a new problem.
In truth, the problems are much less amusing than they appear. The delays reveal a potent blend of corruption and incompetence at their heart.
Oversight has been so poor that major problems have only been noticed after their construction.
Further, airport bosses cancelled major contracts with architects in charge of building the airport. This meant starting from scratch – in the middle of construction.
The delays have already cost Berlin taxpayers millions. This will continue until construction is complete. But for the time being, at least Berliners have something to laugh at!