Navigation | Page content | Additional information

Page content

Press Release

August 18, 2011

Groundbreaking ceremony at new ILA grounds


Construction of the new multi-purpose exhibition grounds adjacent to BER, the capital’s new airport, is now under way

 Berlin ExpoCenter Airport to open in mid-2012

 Berlin, 18 August 2011 – A symbolic groundbreaking ceremony took place today to mark the beginning of construction of the new exhibition grounds directly adjacent to BER, the capital’s new airport. The multi-purpose exhibition grounds, bearing the name Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, will be built close by the village of Selchow, and among other events will host the International Aerospace Exhibition ILA. The main section of the grounds will cover approximately 250,000 square metres. Hall and chalet areas for aircraft displays covering some 50,000 square metres, and an outdoor display area for spectators and access routes covering 100,000 square metres, will be built for ILA 2012.

Messeimmobilien Selchow GmbH (MIS) was set up on 10 November 2010 in order to manage construction and marketing of the grounds. Messe Berlin GmbH and ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg (ZAB) each hold a 50 per cent share in the company. MIS will invest 27 million euros in the development of the new grounds. 

Business and politics – new grounds boost the local economy

“Today’s groundbreaking ceremony may only be a minor event, but I am certain it will have a far-reaching effect on the Berlin/Brandenburg region“, said Raimund Hosch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of MIS, at the ceremony marking the beginning of construction. “Berlin as a venue for trade fairs needs the new exhibition grounds. More trade fairs bring growth to the capital’s entire local region. They create and secure jobs. The new exhibition grounds will augment rather than compete with the established exhibition grounds in Berlin. The high demand from holders of trade fairs at the Berlin Exhibition grounds is a good sign for the new grounds”, said Hosch.

This applied in particular to aerospace exhibitions as well as to other fairs representing the industry and to service sectors, he added, a fact that was evident from initial talks with interested organizers, which had already been very positive. What was more, the grounds were ideal for trade fairs requiring large outdoor spaces.

Matthias Platzeck, Minister President of Brandenburg: “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony at the new exhibition grounds directly adjacent to Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt marks the beginning of a new success story. The decision to choose Schönefeld as the venue for ILA was correct. This is where the ILA is at home. The Berlin/Brandenburg region surrounding the capital is one of the leading locations of the aerospace industry in Germany. The ILA is an ideal place to showcase this sector in Brandenburg and Berlin and is a major attraction for the public.” A day earlier Platzeck had returned from Moscow where he was promoting the ILA at the MAKS air show and where agreement was reached on a further aerospace joint venture with Russia.

Harald Wolf, Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Economics: “The aerospace industry is of great technological and economic importance to the region around the capital. According to estimates, the International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) boosts economic production in the Berlin/Brandenburg region by approximately 361 million euros, which means that the ILA alone creates and secures up to 4,560 jobs. The decision by the governments of the two federal States to hold the ILA in the capital’s local region and to economically develop the exhibition grounds was correct.“

Dietmar Schrick, Chief Executive of the German Aerospace Industries Association: “Construction of the new grounds directly adjacent to the capital’s new airport marks the beginning of a new era for ILA. Following the ILA’s great success after its move to Berlin in 1992 the new, compact exhibition grounds will offer an even better opportunity to expand. This will provide an adequate, contemporary response to the challenges which this trade fair presents at national and international level. The ILA is one of the world’s three largest trade fairs and air shows representing this sector, as well as an important economic factor as far as the Berlin/Brandenburg region is concerned. Every segment of the aerospace industry is represented at the ILA, which addresses the latest trends and developments in civil and military aviation and space flight. Nowhere is it possible to demonstrate the political significance of the ILA and our industry better than in the capital’s local region.“

Countdown to ILA – from the groundbreaking ceremony to the opening of the fair

In barely more than a year ILA 2012, one of the world’s largest aerospace events, will open its doors on the grounds directly adjacent to BER, the capital’s new airport. Visitors from around the world will fly into Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt, which begins operations on 3 June 2012. But before the representatives of aerospace companies begin to do business, sign agreements and display their aircraft on the ground and in the air, planners, architects and builders will dominate the scene. Before the ILA begins the following construction measures will take place:

From mid-August 2011: ground levelling measures

Starting now, bulldozers and excavators will dominate the landscape at the building site on the grounds. Over the coming weeks they will shift around 48,000 cubic metres of earth to create a level surface. To ensure maximum efficiency the area has been divided into five sections in which construction will at times take place concurrently.

Outside the exhibition grounds construction will also be moving forward apace. In late August 2011 ground measures will be carried out in the area of the airport bordering directly on the exhibition grounds, the part which in particular the ILA will use. Construction will take place of 50,000 square metres of outdoor display area alone, which is destined for aircraft displays, as well as of the Bravo taxiway, which will connect 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.

From September 2011: ground infrastructure measures

Once the surface has been levelled to the height of the surrounding area, starting in September 2011 water, electricity and communication lines will be laid. Overall, more than 11,000 metres of water pipes will be installed to carry drinking water, wastewater and rainwater. In addition, over 15,000 metres of hollow piping will be installed underground which will carry 34,000 metres of high, medium and low-voltage cabling. This will power all the electrical, telecoms and IT systems which eventually will supply the exhibition grounds when trade fair operations get fully under way. These infrastructure measures are due to be completed by the end of March 2012.

From October 2011: construction begins of a bypass on the northern edge of the grounds

Starting in October 2011 construction will begin of an 800-metre long bypass, which six weeks later will run past the northern edge of the grounds. The road (L 75) currently dissecting the exhibition grounds will then become a central boulevard.

From March 2012: ground surfacing measures

Once the supply lines have been put in around 69,000 square metres of ground will be covered in tarmac. The current plan is for the keys to the exhibition grounds to be handed over in late April 2012. During the spring, tours for exhibitors and event organizers will already be taking place on the grounds.

From June 2012: construction of parking areas

In summer 2012 construction will begin of the parking areas required for the ILA. A total of around 11,500 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. A minor city will be built featuring all the necessary services and communications for exhibiting the products of an industry that represents the key technologies of the 21st century. The new exhibition grounds will boast all the ILA’s typical features, such as trade fair halls for the world’s aerospace industry, outdoor sites for displaying aircraft of every type and size, chalets for catering exclusively to VIPs, 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.

11 to 16 September 2012: ILA 2012

ILA 2012 will take place from 11 to 16 September. The first three days of the ILA (11 to 13 September) are reserved exclusively for trade visitors. The weekend open to the general public from 14 to 16 September will feature a spectacular programme of flying displays.

Compensation and substitution measures to begin while construction is still under way

Several compensation and substitution measures in the surrounding region will be taking place while construction is still under way. For example, restoration will take place of the manor park in Selchow, where the trees will be inspected, some of which will be replaced, a small lake will be returned to nature, and improvements will be made to the paths inside the park. The perimeter fence of the ILA grounds will be lined with green creepers. More than 180 new trees such as alders and lime trees will be planted in surrounding parts. The 83 Norway maples currently next to the L 75 will be transplanted to Waßmannsdorf. Buildings and sealed surfaces at the former army barracks in Töpchin will be removed, laying bare the underlying soil. South of the new airport large fields will be planted with a wealth of flowering plants, and inside the nature reserve at Brunnluch barrages will be erected to improve local water management. Even on the ILA grounds, hedges will be planted on the side bordering the village of Selchow. Furthermore, a noise barrier and screen will be put up between the exhibition grounds and residential buildings in Selchow.

Photos for the press of the groundbreaking ceremony are available online

This press release and photos for the press of the groundbreaking ceremony which took place today will be available on the internet from 1 p.m.: / Press Service / Press Releases or photo gallery of Berlin ExpoCenter Airport.