• ‘Phantom’ airport draws tourists, not travelers


    BERLIN: Berlin’s troubled international airport project, already five years behind schedule, has been fraught by mismanagement, fraud and corruption, and a vicious streak of bad luck. But while the site has become a laughingstock for Germans, the consortium behind it has turned a disaster into something of an opportunity with guided tours that have become an unexpected hit with the public. More than one million people have visited the “phantom” facility since the two-hour tours began in 2007. And interest has taken off since the planners blew past the 2012 opening date, driven by a particularly Germanic love of technology, bafflement at the money pit consuming their taxes, and perhaps just a touch of schadenfreude. At 10 euros ($11) per person, the tours are a minimal source of income, just as the budget for what many call a boondoggle has ballooned to more than five billion euros ($5.6 billion) — about three times more than the 1.7 billion euros originally earmarked.



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