Troubled German airport's PR man 'sacked for straight-talking interview'

A press spokesman for Berlin's delayed new airport has left his job after reportedly telling a trade magazine that plans for the development were "screwed up" and that "billions of euros had gone down the drain".

Daniel Abbou: Sacked after interview
Daniel Abbou: Sacked after interview

The Berlin Brandenburg Airport has been beset by delays since building work began in 2006. The original completion date was October 2011 but, after missing this and three further deadlines, work on the airport is now due to finish in the second half of 2017.

The German media have covered each twist of the saga behind the building of the airport, including a budget that has ballooned from €2.5bn (£2bn) to €6.6bn.

On Monday Daniel Abbou, the former press spokesman for the airport, who had been in post for three months, gave an interview to German’s PR Magazin, in which he was asked if the new deadline for completing the project would be met.

Abbou told the magazine: "Believe me, no politician, no airport director, and no one who isn't dependent on medication, will give you any firm guarantees for this airport... They used to say mostly, no, everything will be fine. That's bullshit. Admit it when something has screwed up. It'll all come out anyway."

Abbou was also asked whether the airport, if completed, could ever be considered a success, to which he replied that the management had messed up and added: "Too many billions of euros have gone down the drain."

A statement from the airport sent to PRWeek said: "Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH and Daniel Abbou, former Head of Corporate Communication for FBB, have agreed to part company. The reason given for the termination of Abbou’s employment contract was differences in the way press work was handled."

Abbou’s boss, Karsten Mühlenfeld, was reported as saying shortly after Abbou's departure: "The interview of Mr Abbou with PR Magazin was not agreed with management. Mr Abbou has been relieved of his duties."

German politicians said Abbou’s honesty was a refreshing departure and that he should not have been sacked.

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