New Berlin airport eyes 25 mln passengers in year one

BERLIN Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:28pm EDT

An easyJet Airbus A320 'Willy Brandt' is pictured during its name giving ceremony at the airport terminal of the future Berlin Brandenburg international airport Willy Brandt (BER) in Schoenefeld south of Berlin, April 23, 2012. The new airport is scheduled to open on June 3.   REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

An easyJet Airbus A320 'Willy Brandt' is pictured during its name giving ceremony at the airport terminal of the future Berlin Brandenburg international airport Willy Brandt (BER) in Schoenefeld south of Berlin, April 23, 2012. The new airport is scheduled to open on June 3.

Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - The operator of the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport aims to attract 25 million passengers in its first year, with growth coming mainly from connecting flights through the German capital, Chief Executive Rainer Schwarz said on Tuesday.

Plans by national carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and Air Berlin (AB1.DE) to expand services and routes will help growth at the airport, which opens on June 3 to replace the existing Schoenefeld and Tegel airports.

Britain's Easyjet (EZJ.L) also aims to boost passenger numbers in Berlin, he added.

The new airport has been built on the existing Schoenefeld site. It and Tegel are to shut shortly and together handled 24 million passengers, fewer than half the number at Germany's main airport in Frankfurt.

The operator has invested about 2 billion euros so far in the construction of the new airport.

(Reporting by Nadine Schimroszik, writing by Madeline Chambers; editing by Patrick Graham)

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