With the start of Air France flight AF 1235, an era in Berlin ended on Sunday: Tegel Airport will no longer handle flights. For legal reasons, it will have to be kept operational for the next six months, but the operating company declares that no more flights can take place in Tegel during this time.
“Today, November 8th, 2020, a special chapter in the transport history of the capital region ended. From the beginnings of aviation to mass tourism by plane: everything took place in Tegel. This was made possible by the employees of the airport company and your partners at the airport. You have done extraordinary things and made the airport unforgettable. For decades, the architectural icon was the gateway to the world for Berliners. That is why there was no more fitting farewell to Tegel than an Air France flight, ”said airport manager Engelbert Lütke Daldrup.
Theoretically, Otto-Lilienthal-Airport could be reactivated at short notice up to and including May 2021 if necessary, but the probability that this will occur is very low. After this retention period has expired, the area is to be converted into a new district. The hexagonal main terminal is a listed building and is to house a university in the future. Since it has only been kept in good condition sporadically in recent years, a general renovation is due first.
“We are very pleased that today we have the honor of saying goodbye to Berlin-Tegel Airport as the last airline with flight AF1235 to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. We were closely connected to him for 60 years and say #Thank youTXL! Our time in Tegel ends with the flights to the new BER Airport, but the story of Air France in Berlin continues ... ”, explains Stefan Gumuseli, Germany Director at Air France-KLM.
The history of aviation in Tegel goes back a long way: as early as 1896, there were only trials in airship travel. In the course of the Berlin blockade, the airport, located in the former French occupation zone, was expanded at record speed in 1948 to support the US airlift. At the time, the newly built runway was the longest in Europe at 2.428 meters.
Until 1990, only airlines of the occupying powers USA, Great Britain and France were allowed to land in Tegel due to the provisions of the Four Power Agreement on Berlin. A total of around 1948 million take-offs and landings took place between 2020 and 6,5.
The hexagonal airport building, last in operation as Terminal A and one of Berlin's landmarks, was opened in 1974 and was designed for around 6 million passengers. Terminal C was added in 2007. Especially from the 2000s onwards, Tegel Airport recorded steadily growing passenger numbers, most recently around 2019 million passengers handled in 24,24. In June 2019, the peak number of passengers was over 90.000 people in one day. A few months later, in April of the crisis year 2020, this value temporarily fell to 250 people.
The hexagonal terminal building of TXL has been a listed building since 2019. A research and industrial park for urban technologies is planned on the site, and apartments and green spaces will also be created. Initially, Tegel Airport will remain operational for another six months. The obligation to operate expires on May 5, 2021, and TXL is then technically no longer an airport.