Navigation | Page content | Additional information

Page content

Press Release

July 03, 2012

Berlin ExpoCenter Airport built in record time

From groundbreaking ceremony to key handover in ten months

Construction of the first buildings for ILA 2012 begins immediately

Berlin, 3 July 2012 – Next door to the future major airport BER the new Berlin/Brandenburg exhibition grounds have been completed in record time. ExpoCenter Airport Berlin Brandenburg, which is now ready, is a fair and event venue that can be used in a wide range of ways. Besides three permanent display halls covering a display area of more than 20,000 square metres it offers space for large outdoor displays as well as additional temporary trade fair buildings and service facilities. Construction of buildings for the International Air Show has already begun immediately. This year the ILA, Europe’s leading event for the aerospace industry, will be taking place from 11 to 16 September. In January 2013 the new PANORAMA Berlin fashion show, part of the Berlin Fashion Week, is scheduled to debut on the grounds.

At a symbolic ceremony the organisers of the International Air Show ILA, the exhibition grounds’ first customers, were today presented with the keys.

Matthias Platzeck, Minister President of the federal State of Brandenburg: “The completion of these exhibition grounds has given the ILA a new home. This is the result of a concerted effort by Brandenburg and Berlin. The region surrounding the capital is one of the aerospace sector’s leading industrial sites in Germany, which is why this long-established, leading international trade fair is in exactly in the right place. It is an outstanding event for promoting this region, which is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. At the same time this new and modern venue which ExpoCenter Airport Berlin Brandenburg represents will make sure that in the future the show remains an even match for Europe’s major air shows.“

Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin: “For Berlin as a trade fair venue the handover of the new trade fair halls next door to BER airport is a significant step forward and further underlines Berlin/Brandenburg’s role as one of the world’s leading regions for trade fairs. For the ILA, which is due back here in September, these new grounds are an excellent venue in every respect. However, other leading trade fairs will establish themselves here too and will also prove to be major attractions for people visiting our city. Special praise is due to the architects, planners, and building companies who managed to build the grounds in only ten months.”

Raimund Hosch, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH: “As with immediate effect Berlin/Brandenburg boasts a trump card in the event business, with grounds in a first-class location. ExpoCenter Airport is the first trade fair venue to be next door to a major international airport, a unique selling point for attracting events and a significant addition to the established grounds next to the Berlin Radio Tower. It strengthens business in the Berlin/Brandenburg region and in future will significantly boost spending in Berlin and Brandenburg.“

Dietmar Schrick, Chief Executive of the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI): “I am very happy to receive the keys on time today to these new exhibition grounds with their ultra-modern infrastructure, allowing us hold the ILA Berlin Air Show 2012. Our preparations for the fair are well under way. I am confident that ILA 2012 will be an all-round success. The effort put in by the industry was immense. With an impressive range of international exhibitors, an outstanding programme of flying displays, numerous international delegations, with Poland as our partner country and with completely new sections such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) we are in a perfect position to maintain our leading role among the major international air shows.“

Investment totalling 43 million euros

Messeimmobilien Selchow GmbH (MIS) was set up on 10 November 2010 in order to manage construction of the grounds. Messe Berlin GmbH and ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg (ZAB) each hold a 50 per cent share in the company. MIS invested around 27 million euros in the development of the new grounds. In addition, Messe Berlin spent 16 million euros on erecting three permanent display halls. On 16 May 2012 the shareholders passed a resolution to rename Messeimmobilien Selchow GmbH, which has now become ExpoCenter Airport Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (ECA). ECA has relocated to the new exhibition grounds.

From green fields to exhibition grounds

Katrin Balensiefer (Messe Berlin) and Dr. Rolf Strittmatter (ZAB), the two managing directors of ECA, in particular praised the successful cooperation of all those involved: “The transformation of green fields to exhibition grounds took barely one-and-a-half years. That included the property purchase, obtaining building rights, setting up a company, as well as planning and construction. Normally, projects on this scale take four to five years to complete. Everyone involved made a joint effort from the very start: the federal States of Berlin and Brandenburg, the airport authority, the licensing authorities of the Dahme-Spreewald district, the borough of Schönefeld and the residents of Selchow.“

Since the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony on 18 August 2011 bulldozers and excavators, vibrating rollers and asphalt laying machines have transformed what was once a wasteland into exhibition grounds covering 250,000 square metres. In order to keep to within the ambitious timetable, every day during peak construction periods on average more than 200 mainly local labourers worked in five separate areas to build the site’s infrastructure and the halls.

During the last few months around 48,000 cubic metres of earth were shifted in order to level the surface of the grounds. Working in all weathers, road construction and civil engineers laid down pipes and cables for supplying water, electricity and telecommunications, including more than 11,000 metres of water pipes for carrying drinking water, wastewater and rainwater. 15,000 metres of empty pipes were placed underground in order for them to carry around 34,000 metres of high, medium and low-voltage cabling to their various connections and distribution points. These power all the electrical, telecoms and IT systems which supply the exhibition grounds once trade fair operations get fully under way. During the last building phase construction workers laid down asphalt on surfaces totalling 69,000 square metres.

Display halls covering 20,000 square metres

While the infrastructure measures were ongoing the ground project planners commissioned the construction of three permanent display halls covering an area of more than 20,000 square metres. These pillar-free structures made of steel and concrete and featuring a facade of powder-coated aluminium are ideal for trade fairs, events and presentations. The ground plate consists of steel fibre reinforced concrete, allowing even the heaviest of objects to be transported into the halls where they can be positioned by heavy duty forklift trucks. The roof of each hall is supported along its entire length by a framework of steel supports, each six metres apart, to which suspension points can be attached as required.

Each of the three halls can be accessed from the main road via a three-storey head-end building. Members of all the skilled trades, including plumbers, tilers and painters, worked on completing the interior. An entrance foyer, WC facilities, information counter and first aid room are located on the ground floor of each hall. Offices, meeting rooms with WC facilities and rooms housing technical installations are situated on the first floor. Heating and air-conditioning inside the halls are centrally controlled. Low and high-voltage mains connections for supplying electricity to the floor areas can be fed from within the halls via floor ducts and covers in the ground plate to their respective take-off points.

New streets, areas for parking, logistics and for flight operations

Much has also changed in the immediate vicinity of the exhibition grounds. Bordering the airport, an outdoor display area covering 50,000 square metres now stretches from east to west over the entire width of the grounds. During the ILA this will be used as a static display area for exhibiting aircraft. The new Bravo taxiway connects the ILA grounds with the new southbound runway at BER, making it possible to position aircraft and helicopters and to hold the ILA’s flight display programme.

An 800-metre long road completed in late autumn 2011 now bypasses the grounds. A second section which will divert traffic away from Selchow is in the planning stages. Access roads and turning loops for shuttle buses and cabs will also be built here. What used to be the L 75 thoroughfare is now part of the exhibition grounds and will be the central boulevard at the upcoming ILA 2012. Next to ExpoCenter building measures are taking place in preparation for a logistics area which will be mainly used by forwarding agents.

In summer 2012 construction will begin of the parking areas required for the ILA. A total of around 14,000 parking places for exhibitors, visitors and the press will be built within walking distance of the exhibition area. A special type of grass will mostly be sown in these areas, thereby keeping the areas green.

From August 2012: preparations for ILA 2012

Preparations for the ILA will begin in earnest starting in August 2012, when a minor city will be built featuring all the necessary services and communications. ExpoCenter Airport will boast all the ILA’s typical features, such as permanent and temporary display halls for the world’s aerospace industry, outdoor sites for displaying aircraft of every type and size, chalets for catering exclusively to VIPs and delegations, and a control tower for the ILA fair management. Other features will include numerous facilities providing services and catering, a conference centre with a large number of meeting rooms and a high-tech press centre.

Artwork on the northern facade of Hall A

Currently, the artist Wolfgang Reineck is painting the 1,350 square-metre northern face of Hall A opposite the village of Selchow. This is Messe Berlin’s way of thanking the residents of Selchow for their support at round table discussions which made building ExpoCenter Airport possible. A local artist from the neighbouring village of Waltersdorf, Reineck designed his work based on the suggestions of Selchow’s local committee, which will document the history of the village on an area measuring 150 times 9 metres. Framed either side by the flags of Brandenburg and Berlin it will feature the old manor house, the church, a poppy field and the railway station, demolished many years ago, which for Selchow’s residents was once the gateway to the world. Very soon that will be BER, the capital’s airport, which Reineck will highlight by depicting a passenger aircraft, a private plane and a new terminal. The two planes are already finished and it is possible to make out the contours of the terminal. This mural painted on undulating aluminium sheeting is due to be completed in mid-2013.

Parallel compensation and substitution measures

Several compensation and substitution measures in the surrounding region are taking place while construction is still under way. For example, restoration work is being carried out at the manor park in Selchow, where the trees are being inspected, some of which will be replaced, a small lake is being returned to nature, and improvements are being made to the paths inside the park. The perimeter fence of the ILA grounds has been lined with green climbing plants. More than 180 new trees such as alders and lime trees have been planted in surrounding parts. The 83 Norway maples next to the L 75 have been transplanted to Waßmannsdorf. South of the new airport large fields are being planted with a wealth of flowering plants and inside the nature reserve at Brunnluch barrages are being erected to improve local water management. Furthermore, a noise barrier and screen have been put up between the exhibition grounds and the residential buildings in Selchow.

These measures have won the approval of residents living next to the grounds. Alfred Mann, Selchow’s town leader of many years: “We had talks with Messe Berlin from the very start and openly discussed problems. That way we were able to put forward residents’ concerns during the planning phase. Messe Berlin was always willing to listen to us, which resulted in singularly good cooperation. There probably aren’t many situations in which residents are involved in building projects in this way.”

This press release and photos of the various stages from the groundbreaking ceremony to the handover of the keys can be found on the internet at:

An animated film of the new grounds can be found at: