The Full Wiki

Tempelhof Airport: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Berlin Tempelhof Airport article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Flughafen Berlin-Tempelhof
Airport type Public, defunct
Owner Institute for Federal Real Estate and the Federal State of Berlin[1]
Operator Berlin Airports
Serves Berlin
Location Berlin, Germany
Elevation AMSL 167 ft / 51 m
Coordinates 52°28′25″N 013°24′06″E / 52.47361°N 13.40167°E / 52.47361; 13.40167 (Berlin Tempelhof Airport)Coordinates: 52°28′25″N 013°24′06″E / 52.47361°N 13.40167°E / 52.47361; 13.40167 (Berlin Tempelhof Airport)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
09L/27R 6,870 2,094 Asphalt
09R/27L 6,037 1,840 Asphalt
Source: German AIP at EUROCONTROL[2]
Overview of Tempelhof Airport.
Exterior of Tempelhof Airport.
Interior of Tempelhof - almost deserted as of 2006.
Map of the main building complex with apron
For the United States Air Force military use of this facility, see Tempelhof Central Airport

Berlin Tempelhof Airport (IATA: THFICAO: EDDI) (German: Flughafen Berlin-Tempelhof) was an airport in Berlin, Germany, situated in the south-central borough of Tempelhof-Schöneberg. The airport ceased operating 2008 in order to make Schönefeld the sole commercial airport for Berlin.

Designated by the Ministry of Transport on 8 October 1923, Tempelhof became the world's first airport with an underground railway station in 1927, now called Platz der Luftbrücke after the Berlin Airlift. While occasionally cited as the world's oldest still-operating commercial airport, the title was disputed by several other airports, and has in any case been moot since its closure.

Tempelhof was one of Europe's three iconic pre-World-War-II airports — the others being London's now-defunct Croydon Airport and the old Paris - Le Bourget Airport. One of the airport's most distinguishing features is its large, canopy-style roof that was able to accommodate most contemporary airliners during its heyday in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, thereby protecting passengers from the elements. Tempelhof Airport's main building was once among the top 20 largest buildings on earth. Tempelhof formerly had the world's smallest duty-free shop.[3]

Tempelhof Airport closed all operations on 30 October 2008, despite the efforts of some protesters to prevent the closure.[4]



Tempelhof was often called the "City Airport". In its later years, it mostly had commuter flights to other parts of Germany and neighbouring countries, but it had in the past received long-haul, wide-bodied airliners, such as the Boeing 747[5], the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar[6] and the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy[7].

It had two parallel runways. Runway 9L/27R was 2,094 metres (6,870 ft) long and runway 9R/27L was 1,840 m (6,037 ft). Both were paved with asphalt. The taxiway was in the shape of an oval around these two runways, with a single terminal on the north side of the airport.

Tempelhof Airport closed all operations on 30 October 2008. Other possible uses are being discussed, and many people are trying to keep the airport buildings preserved. A non-binding referendum was held on 27 April 2008 against the impending closure but it failed due to a low voter turnout.

Airlines and destinations

The last airlines to fly regularly from/to Tempelhof were:

Airlines Destinations
Avitrans Växjö
Brussels Airlines Brussels
Cirrus Airlines Mannheim
InterSky Friedrichshafen, Graz

The following air taxi operators had flown from/to Tempelhof:


Adolf Hitler at Zentralflughafen Tempelhof-Berlin, 1932

The site of the airport was originally Knights Templar land in medieval Berlin, and from this beginning came the name Tempelhof. Later, the site was used as a parade field by Prussian forces, and by unified German forces from 1720 to the start of World War I. In 1909, Frenchman Armand Zipfel made the first flight demonstration in Tempelhof, followed by Orville Wright later that same year.[8] Tempelhof was first officially designated as an airport on 8 October 1923. Lufthansa was founded in Tempelhof on 6 January 1926.

The old terminal, originally constructed in 1927, received politicians and celebrities from around the world during the 1930s. As part of Albert Speer's plan for the reconstruction of Berlin during the Nazi era, Prof. Ernst Sagebiel was ordered to replace the old terminal with a new terminal building in 1934.

The airport halls and the neighbouring buildings, intended to become the gateway to Europe and a symbol of Hitler's "world capital" Germania, are still known as the largest built entities worldwide, and have been described by British architect Sir Norman Foster as "the mother of all airports". With its façades of shell limestone, the terminal building, built between 1936 and 1941, forms a 1.2 kilometre long quadrant. Passengers walk through customs controls to the reception hall. Tempelhof was served by the U6 U-Bahn line along Mehringdamm and up Friedrichstraße (Platz der Luftbrücke station).

Zentralflughafen Tempelhof-Berlin had an advantage of central location just minutes from the Berlin city centre and quickly became one of the world's busiest airports. Tempelhof saw its greatest pre-war days during 1938–1939 when more than 52 foreign and 40 domestic aircraft arrived and departed daily from the old terminal, while the new one was still under construction.

The air terminal was designed as headquarters for Deutsche Lufthansa, the German national airline. As a forerunner of today's modern airports, the building was designed with many unique features including giant arc-shaped hangars for aircraft parking. Although under construction for more than ten years, it was never finished because of World War II.

The building complex was designed to resemble an eagle in flight with semicircular hangars forming the bird's spread wings. A mile-long hangar roof was to have been laid in tiers to form a stadium for spectators at air and ground demonstrations.


World War II

Weserwerke started war production in a new building for assembling Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers and later Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter planes in Tempelhof's underground tunnels. Aircraft engines were trucked to Tempelhof and joined to finished airframes. The airport is the hub of a "hub and spoke" arrangement of underground tunnels, and parts for the airplanes were brought from all parts of the city to the air base to be assembled and then flown out. Germany did not use Tempelhof as a military airfield during World War II, except for occasional emergency landings by fighter aircraft.

Soviet forces took Tempelhof in the Battle of Berlin on 24 April 1945 in the closing days of the war in Europe following a fierce battle with Luftwaffe troops. Tempelhof's German commander, Colonel Rudolf Boettger, refused to carry out orders to blow up the base, choosing instead to kill himself. After he died, the Russian troops attempted to clear the five lower levels of the airbase, but the Germans had booby-trapped everything and many were killed; leading the Russian commander to order the lower levels be flooded with water. The lower three levels are still flooded to this day, having never been opened up due to unexploded ordnance.[citation needed]

In accordance with the Yalta agreements, Zentralflughafen Tempelhof-Berlin was turned over to the United States Army 2nd Armored Division on 2 July 1945 by the Soviet Union as part of the American occupation zone of Berlin. This agreement was later formalised by the August 1945 Potsdam Agreement, which formally divided Berlin into four occupation zones.

The 852nd Engineer Aviation Battalion arrived at Tempelhof (Code Number R-95) on 10 July 1945 and conducted the original repairs.

Berlin Airlift

Berlin Airlift Monument in Berlin-Tempelhof, displaying the names of the 39 British and 31 American pilots who lost their lives during the operation, and symbolising the three air corridors.

On 20 June 1948 Soviet authorities, claiming technical difficulties, halted all traffic by land and by water into or out of the western-controlled section of Berlin. The only remaining access routes into the city were three 25 mile-wide air corridors across the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany.[9] Faced with the choice of abandoning the city or attempting to supply its inhabitants with the necessities of life by air, the Western Powers chose the latter course, and for the next eleven months sustained the city's 2½ million residents in one of the greatest feats in aviation history.

Operation Vittles, as the airlift was unofficially named, began on 26 June when USAF Douglas C-47 Skytrains carried 80 tons of food into Tempelhof, far less than the estimated 4,500 tons of food, coal and other essential supplies needed daily to maintain a minimum level of existence. But this force was soon augmented by United States Navy and Royal Air Force cargo aircraft, as well as British European Airways (BEA) and some of Britain's fledgling wholly privately owned, independent airlines.[9] The latter included the late Sir Freddie Laker's Air Charter, Eagle Aviation and Skyways. On 15 October 1948, to promote increased safety and cooperation between the separate US and British airlift efforts, the Allies created a unified command – the Combined Airlift Task Force under Maj. Gen. William H. Tunner, USAF, was established at Tempelhof. To facilitate the command and control, as well as the unloading of aircraft, the USAF 53rd Troop Carrier Squadron was temporarily assigned to Tempelhof.

1949 stamp from West Berlin with a Douglas C-54 Skymaster over Tempelhof airport

In addition to the airlift operations, American engineers constructed a new 6,000-foot runway at Tempelhof between July and September 1948 and another between September and October 1948 to accommodate the expanding requirements of the airlift. The last airlift transport touched down at Tempelhof on 30 September 1949.

Cold War

As the Cold War intensified in the late 1950s and 1960s, access problems to West Berlin, both by land and air, continued to cause tension. USAF aircraft were harassed as they flew in and out of the city. Throughout the Cold War years, Tempelhof was the main terminal for American military transport aircraft accessing West Berlin.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, the presence of American forces in Berlin ended. The USAF 7350th Air Base Group at Tempelhof was deactivated in June 1993. In July 1994, with President Clinton in attendance, the British, French, and American air and land forces in Berlin were deactivated in a ceremony on the Four Ring Parade field at Tempelhof in accordance with the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany. The Western Allies returned a united city of Berlin to the unified German government.

The U.S. Army closed its Berlin Army Aviation Detachment at TCA in August 1994, ending a 49-year American military presence in Berlin.

Postwar commercial use

American Overseas Airlines (AOA), at the time the overseas division of American Airlines, inaugurated the first commercial air link serving Tempelhof after the war with a flight from New York via Shannon, Amsterdam and Frankfurt on 18 May 1946.[10][11] This was followed by AOA's inauguration of West Berlin's first dedicated domestic air link between Tempelhof and Frankfurt's Rhein-Main Airport on 1 March 1948.[12]

AOA had the distinction of being the only airline to maintain commercial operations between West Berlin and West Germany for the entire duration of the Berlin Blockade (26 June 1948 — 12 May 1949).[12]

Following the end of the Berlin Blockade, AOA launched additional dedicated scheduled domestic services linking Tempelhof with Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel and Düsseldorf Lohausen from 6 March 1950 and 1 June 1950 respectively.[13]

On 25 September 1950, Pan Am acquired AOA from American Airlines and established a presence at Tempelhof.[10] (In addition to continuing AOA's original, multistop Berlin—New York route and dedicated internal German services connecting Berlin with Frankfurt, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, between 1955 and 1959, Pan Am commenced regular, year-round scheduled services to Cologne, Stuttgart, Hanover, Munich and Nuremberg from Tempelhof.[12]) Pan Am's initial equipment for its new Berlin operation were unpressurised, 60-seat Douglas DC-4s as these were widely available at the time due to the large number of war-surplus C-54 Skymasters on the second-hand aircraft market.[12][9]

1950 was also the year Air France joined Pan Am at Tempelhof.[9][14] Air France resumed operations to Tempelhof following their cessation during the war years.[9][14][15]

By mid-1951, BEA transferred its operations from Gatow to Tempelhof, thus concentrating all air services from/to West Berlin at Berlin's iconic city centre airport.[15][16] This was furthermore the time Allied restrictions giving first preference to Allied military personnel and their dependants on commercial airline services from/to West Berlin were lifted.[10] This decision gave a major boost to West Berlin's fledgeling post-war scheduled air services.[10]

From then on, several of the new, wholly privately owned UK independent airlines and US supplemental carriers commenced regular air services to Tempelhof from the UK, the US and West Germany. These airlines initially carried members of the UK and US armed forces stationed in Berlin and their dependants as well as essential raw materials, finished goods manufactured in West Berlin and refugees from East Germany and Eastern Europe, who were still able to freely enter the city prior to the construction of the infamous Berlin Wall, on their flights. This operation was also known as the second Little Berlin Airlift.[17] One of these airlines, UK independent Dan-Air Services (operating as Dan-Air London), would subsequently play an important role in developing commercial air services from Tegel for a quarter century.[18][19]

During the early to mid-1950s, BEA leased in aircraft that were bigger than its Tempelhof-based fleet of Pionair, Viking and Elizabethan piston-engined airliners from other operators to boost capacity, following a steady increase in the airline's passenger loads.[9]

In 1958, BEA began replacing its aging piston airliners with brand-new, state-of-the-art Vickers Viscount 800 series turboprop aircraft. These aircraft's greater range and higher cruising speed enabled BEA to inaugurate a non-stop London Heathrow — Berlin Tempelhof service on 1 November 1965.[9][15] For many years, this was the only non-stop international scheduled air service from Tempelhof.

On 19 November 1959, a Pan Am DC-4 became the first aircraft to operate a scheduled all-cargo service from West Berlin. This service linked Tempelhof with Rhein-Main Airport once-nightly, all year round.[20]

On 2 January 1960, Air France, which had served Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and its main base at Paris Le Bourget/Orly during the previous decade with DC-4, Sud-Est Languedoc and Lockheed Constellation piston-engined equipment, shifted its entire Berlin operation to Tegel because Tempelhof's runways were too short to permit the introduction of the Sud-Aviation Caravelle, the French flag carrier's new short-haul jet, with a viable payload.[21][9][14][22] (Air France's Caravelle IIIs lacked thrust reversers that would have permitted them to land safely on Tempelhof's short runways with a full commercial payload.[23][24])

On 1 March 1960, Pan Am launched its second dedicated scheduled all-cargo flight from Berlin, linking Tempelhof with Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel.[25]

1960 was also the year Pan Am re-equipped its Tempelhof-based fleet with larger, pressurised Douglas DC-6B propliners. The first of these joined Pan Am's Berlin fleet on 27 June of that year.[26] Although the DC-6B was a less advanced aircraft than either the Viscount or the Caravelle, it was more economical. By the early 1960s, Pan Am had a fleet of 15 DC-6Bs stationed at its Tempelhof base, which were configured in a higher-density seating arrangement than competing airlines' aircraft. (Pan Am's DC-6Bs were originally configured in a 76-seat, all-economy layout. The subsequent introduction of subsidies for all scheduled internal German services from/to West Berlin resulted in steady network growth as well as service frequency and passenger load increases. To cope with the sharply higher traffic volumes, aircraft seat densities were increased twice — initially to 84 and subsequently 87 seats.[12]) This fleet eventually grew to 17 aircraft, which gave Pan Am the biggest aircraft fleet among the three main scheduled operators flying from West Berlin. It furthermore enabled it to compensate for the DC-6's lack of sophistication with higher frequencies than its competitors, thereby attaining a higher market share (60%) and capturing a greater share of the lucrative business travel market than its rivals. During that period, Pan Am moreover achieved an industry-leading ultra short-haul load factor of 70% on its eight scheduled internal routes from Berlin, making the airline's Berlin routes the most profitable in its worldwide scheduled network.[15][27][28][29]

Following the completion of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961, the West German government introduced a route-specific subsidy of up to 20 percent for all internal German scheduled air services from and to West Berlin to help the airlines cope with the resulting falloff in traffic and maintain an economically viable operation on these lifeline routes.[9][22] These came into effect on 1 March 1962 for all tickets sold in Germany, including Berlin.[30] [16][31] (To qualify for the subsidised rate under this system, the passenger was required to purchase a round-trip ticket for a scheduled internal German flight from/to West Berlin in Germany. Once he/she had checked-in at the airport, the airline collected a coupon attached to his/her ticket, which was subsequently handed in to the relevant German authorities for reimbursement.[21])

By the early 1960s, a number of UK independents and US supplementals began operating regular charter flights from Tempelhof. These carried both inbound tourists from the US, the UK and other countries as well as local outbound tourists to the emerging holiday resorts in the Mediterranean. US supplemental Saturn Airways became the first airline the Allied Air Attachés in Bonn licensed to operate a series of regular charter flights from West Berlin. It operated from Tempelhof under contract to local package holiday company Flug-Union Berlin using Douglas DC-6A/Cs and DC-7Cs.[32][33] London Gatwick-based Overseas Aviation (CI) became the first UK independent to operate regular charter flights from West Berlin utilising Vikings and Argonauts. These operated from Tempelhof under contract to the Berlin Senate and the city's Technical University as well as Berliner Flugring, a local package tour operator that began as a consortium of West Berlin travel agents arranging inclusive tour flights to holiday resorts in Europe.[34][35][36]

On 2 December 1964, a Boeing 727-100 became the first jet aircraft to land at Tempelhof. Boeing had leased the aircraft to Pan Am for a special flight from Frankfurt to Berlin to demonstrate to the airline the 727's ability to operate from Tempelhof's short runways. Pan Am indicated its intention to place an order for six 727s for its Berlin operation, as a result of the aircraft using only half the 5,900 ft runway during landing.[37][38]

On 18 March 1966, Pan Am became the first airline to commence regular, year-round jet operations from Tempelhof with the first examples of a brand-new fleet of an initial eight Boeing 727 100 series, one of the first short-field performance jet aircraft.[39][40] These aircraft were configured in a single class featuring 128 economy seats.[12] Pan Am's move put BEA at a considerable competitive disadvantage, especially on the busy Berlin-Frankfurt route where the former out-competed the latter with both modern jet planes as well as a higher flight frequency.[41] BEA responded by supplementing its Tempelhof-based Viscount fleet with de Havilland Comet 4B series jetliners.[9] Although these aircraft could operate from Tempelhof's short runways without payload restrictions, they were not suited to the airline's ultra short-haul operation from Berlin (average stage length: 230 miles) given the high fuel consumption of the Comet, especially when operating at the mandatory 10,000 feet altitude inside the Allied air corridors.[21][41][42][43] This measure was therefore only a stopgap until BEA's BAC One-Eleven 500s arrived in Berlin. BEA furthermore responded to Pan Am's competitive threat by increasing frequencies and re-configuring its Berlin-based Viscounts with a lower-density seating arrangement, as a result of which these aircraft's refurbished interiors featured only 53, Comet-type first-class seats in a four-abreast layout instead of 66, five-abreast economy seats. In addition, BEA sought to differentiate itself from its main competitor by providing a superior in-flight catering standard. (BEA's Silver Star service included complimentary hot meals on all flights whereas Pan Am merely offered free on-board snacks. Sections of the local press dubbed the contrasting strategies of the two main protagonists plying the internal German routes from Berlin — estimated to be worth £15-20m in annual revenues — the Dinner oder Düsen? (Dinner or Jet?) battle.) Henceforth, the airline marketed these services as Super Silver Star.[13][9][10][15][44][45]

The introduction of Pan Am's 727s to the Berlin market represented a major step change because of the aircraft's ability to carry more passengers than any other contemporary aircraft type used by scheduled carriers in the short-haul Berlin market, and its ability to take off from and land on Tempelhof's short runways with a full commercial payload as only light fuel loads were required on the short internal German services. Compared with BEA, Pan Am's 727s carried 20% more passengers than the British carrier's Comet 4Bs and up to 2½ times as many passengers as the latter's Viscounts (in Silver Star configuration).[21]

Within two years of Pan Am's introduction of jet equipment on the bulk of its internal German services from/to West Berlin, its market share rose from 58% to 68%. Despite the huge increase in capacity over the DC-6B (128 vs. 87 seats), load factors dropped during the first year of operations only. (Pan Am's second year of jet operations from Tempelhof saw load factors steadying while the third saw a slight increase.[46]) The lower seat density in BEA's re-configured Viscounts combined with higher flight frequencies, superior catering and increased promotion proved insufficient to counter the appeal of Pan Am's new jets, which were laid out in a comparatively tight, 34-inch pitch seating configuration. This resulted in BEA's market share declining from 38% at the beginning of this period to 27% at its end. On the other hand, BEA's reduced capacity in the domestic air travel market between West Berlin and West Germany enabled it to attain higher load factors than its competitors.[9][47][48] (Air France, West Berlin's third scheduled carrier, which had suffered a continuous traffic decline ever since the transfer of Berlin operations to more distant Tegel at the beginning of 1960 due to Tempelhof's operational limitations that made it unsuitable for its Caravelles, was worst affected by the equipment changes at the latter airport during the mid- to late 1960s. Over this period, the French airline's market share halved from 9% to less than 5% despite having withdrawn from Tegel—Düsseldorf in summer 1964 and concentrated its limited resources on Tegel—Frankfurt and Tegel—Munich to maximise the competitive impact on the latter two routes. To reverse growing losses on its Berlin routes, Air France decided to withdraw from the internal German market entirely and instead enter into a joint venture with BEA. This arrangement entailed the latter taking over the former's two remaining German domestic routes to Frankfurt and Munich and operating these with its own aircraft and flightdeck crews from Tempelhof. The Air France-BEA joint venture became operational in spring 1969 and terminated in autumn 1972.[49][21][50][41][51][9][52][53][54])

In 1968, BEA began replacing its Berlin-based Viscounts with the new One-Eleven 500s, which it called the Super One-Eleven. These aircraft featured a 97-seat, single-class configuration.[9][15][42][55][43][56][57]

1968 was also the year all non-scheduled services, ie primarily the rapidly growing number of inclusive tour charter flights, were concentrated at Tegel to alleviate increasing congestion at Tempelhof and to make better use of Tegel, which was underutilised at the time.[36]

Commercial air traffic from/to Berlin Tempelhof peaked in 1971 at just above 5½ million passengers (out of a total of 6.12 million passengers for all West Berlin airports during that year). Pan Am accounted for the bulk of this traffic with more than 3½ million passengers[28], followed by BEA with over 2.1m passengers. 1971 was also the year BEA's last Viscount departed Berlin.[15][58][22][59]

East Germany's relaxation of border controls affecting all surface transport modes between West Berlin and West Germany across its territory from 1972 onwards resulted in a decline of scheduled internal German air traffic from/to West Berlin. This was further compounded by the economic downturn in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. The resulting fare increases that were intended to recover the airlines' higher operating costs caused by steeply rising jet fuel prices led to a further drop in demand. This in turn resulted in a major contraction of Pan Am's and BEA's/British Airways's internal German operations, necessitating a reduction in both airlines' Berlin-based fleets and workforces in an attempt to contain growing losses these once profitable routes generated by the mid-1970s.[9][22][28][60]

On 1 September 1975, Pan Am and British Airways moved their entire Berlin operation to the newly built terminal at Tegel Airport. Following Pan Am's and BA's move to Tegel, Tempelhof was exclusively used by the US military until 1985.[61]

The end of the Cold War and German reunification opened Tempelhof for non-allied air traffic on 3 October 1990. US President Bill Clinton christened a new Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport plane (serial number 96-0006) the Spirit of Berlin at Tempelhof on 12 May 1998, to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Blockade on 12 May 1949.

Towards the end, commercial use was mostly in the form of small commuter aircraft flying regionally. Plans had been in place to shut down Tempelhof and Tegel, and make Schönefeld the sole commercial airport for Berlin.

Closing down air traffic and the referendum against it


In 1996, the mayor of Berlin Eberhard Diepgen, Brandenburg’s governor Manfred Stolpe and the federal transport minister Wissmann established the so-called “Consensus resolution”. The entire planning aimed at concentrating domestic and international air traffic in Berlin and Brandenburg at one airport: Berlin-Schönefeld International Airport.[62] To ensure investment protection as well as to fend off opposition to Schönefeld International's expansion, it was mandated that first Tempelhof and then Tegel must be closed. On December 4, 2007, the Federal Administrative Court of Germany (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) made the final decision as court of last instance to close Tempelhof Airport.[63]

An initiative for a nonbinding referendum against the closure was held and failed, after the initial number of signatures required were collected.[64] According to the constitution of the state of Berlin, the number of supportive signatures that were required to be collected within four months in order to compel a referendum amounts to 7% of the population of Berlin entitled to vote, or 169,784.[65] The four months period for the collection of signatures at the Berlin district townhalls ended on 14 February 2008.[66] 203,408 signatures were lodged.[67] The referendum was held on 27 April 2008.[68] All eligible voters received an information brochure along with their notification. A majority of the votes was necessary to support the referendum, but this had to be at least one quarter of all eligible Berlin voters.[69][70]

The initiative for keeping Tempelhof open was supported by the ICAT (Interessengemeinschaft City-Airport Tempelhof) [71] along with a couple of opposition parties in the Berlin city parliament: the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party citing primarily the need for an inner-city airport for business and private flyers as well as nostalgic reasons.[62] Representatives from the ICAT suggested keeping the airport open just until Schönefeld Airport is completed in about 2012. The Berlin government insisted on the closure of the airport for legal, long-term economic, and environmental reasons[69], in particular to ensure the expansion of Schönefeld International. Environmental groups and the Green party supported them in this. Plans for the future would include for example an airlift museum in the old terminal building, commercial space for innovative businesses, new housing and industrial areas, sports facilities, and parks. Legally the decision in favour of closure at the end of October 2008 was irrevocable[72] and the referendum was nonbinding. A subsequent reopening would have faced high legal barriers. However, some legal experts claimed there may be means to circumvent this.

The referendum of 27 April 2008 failed. Although 60.2 % of the votes cast were for the initiative to keep the airport open, this was by only 21.7 % of the eligible voters; 25 % had been required. Support had been highest in western districts of Berlin (up to 80 %), but opposition (ie only 30 % approval) and disinterest was prevalent in eastern districts. Voter turnout of 36 % was low.[73] Air traffic at Tempelhof Airport thus ceased for good on 30 October and the expansion of Schönefeld Airport can continue unhindered. The official licence expired in mid-December.

A “Goodbye Tempelhof” gala was held at Tempelhof airport for eight hundred invited guests in the last hours of 30 October. Meanwhile, protesters against the closing held a candle vigil in front on the Platz der Lufbrücke. The last commercial flight was a Cirrus Airlines Dornier 328 that departed at 22:17 towards Mannheim.[74] “Time to say goodbye” was sung to the spectators on the tarmac at the conclusion. At precisely four and a half minutes before midnight, the last two airplanes – a historical Junkers Ju 52 and an airlift “raisin bomberDouglas DC-3 – took off in parallel, waved their wings, and flew off south-east to Schönefeld airport. The runway and air field lights were switched off at midnight.[4]

Three small airplanes flying under VFR were left stranded at the airport, as weather conditions prevented them from taking off on 30 October. They were allowed to take off on 24 November 2008, making them the last take offs from the airport.[75]

Post-airport usage

As of 2009, no permanent or comprehensive plans have been implemented. The first major events included the BREAD & BUTTER fashion tradeshow in July[76][77] and the Berlin Festival 2009 concert in August[78]. It also hosted the Berlin Marathon fair in September, which is the main event preparation to runners and had participation of sponsors and major sports brands. Fairs are held in the hangar.

Accidents and incidents

On 29 April 1952, an Air France Douglas C-54A (registration F-BELI) operating a scheduled service from Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport to Berlin Tempelhof came under sustained attack from two Soviet MiG 15 fighters while passing through one of the Allied air corridors over East Germany. Although the attack had severely damaged the plane, necessitating the shutdown of engines number three and four, the pilot in command of the aircraft managed to carry out a safe emergency landing at Tempelhof Airport. A subsequent inspection of the aircraft's damage at Tempelhof revealed that it had been hit by 89 shots fired from the Soviet MiGs during the preceding air attack. There were no fatalities among the 17 occupants (six crew, 11 passengers) despite the severity of the attack. The Soviet military authorities defended this attack on an unarmed civilian aircraft by claiming the Air France plane was outside the air corridor at the time of attack.[79]

In 1978, a LOT Polish Airlines Tupolev TU-134 operating an international scheduled service from Warsaw to East Berlin via Gdansk was hijacked on the flight's Gdansk - East Berlin leg and forced to land at Tempelhof. The US military authorities who were in charge of Tempelhof during the Cold War era arrested the East German hijacker on arrival. At that time, he was expected to be sentenced and tried by a US military court. Following the hijacker's arrest, the US authorities returned the aircraft, its crew and those passengers who wished to resume their journey to Poland.[80]

In 1981, a LOT Polish Airlines Antonov AN-24 operating an internal scheduled service from Katowice to Gdansk was hijacked en route and forced to land at Tempelhof. Bernard Pietka, the hijacker, was on military service while taking over the aircraft. He was armed with a grenade and a single-shot pistol. The US military authorities arrested the hijacker on arrival and handed him over to the local police. At that time, he was expected to be sentenced to a five-year prison term under West German law. Following the hijacker's arrest, the US authorities released the aircraft, its crew and all 50 passengers to resume their flight to Gdansk.[81]

See also


  1. ^ Institute for Federal Real Estate, September 2008. Page 9.
  2. ^ EAD Basic
  3. ^ Airports International June 1975 (industry magazine)
  4. ^ a b Crowds Bid Fond Farewell to Airport That Saved Berlin, New York Times, October 30, 2008
  5. ^ Pan Am Boeing 747-121 (picture)
  6. ^ Lockheed L-1011 Tristar 1 demonstrator in BEA colours (picture)
  7. ^ USAF Lockheed C-5A Galaxy (picture)
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o BEA in Berlin, Air Transport, Flight International, 10 August 1972, pp. 180/1
  10. ^ a b c d e Berlin Airport Company — Airline Portrait — Pan Am, January 1975 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1975
  11. ^ Aircraft Illustrated (Airport Profile - Berlin-Tempelhof), Vol 42, No 1, p. 32, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, January 2009
  12. ^ a b Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, p. 4, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  13. ^ a b c Berlin Airport Company — Airline Portrait — Air France, March 1975 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1975
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Berlin Airport Company — Airline Portrait — British Airways, February 1975 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1975
  15. ^ a b Aircraft Illustrated (Airport Profile - Berlin-Tempelhof), Vol 42, No 1, p. 33, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, January 2009
  16. ^ The Spirit of Dan-Air, Simons, G.M., GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1993, p. 11
  17. ^ The Spirit of Dan-Air, Simons, G.M., GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1993, pp. 9-11
  18. ^ Airline Profile: Number Forty-Three in the Series - Dan-Air, Flight International, 31 May 1973, p. 836
  19. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, pp. 6, 8, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  20. ^ a b c d e Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, p. 5, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  21. ^ a b c d The battle for Berlin, Flight International, 23 April 1988, pp. 19-21
  22. ^ Commercial Aircraft Survey, Flight International, 23 November 1967, p. 871
  23. ^ Air France Sud SE-210 Caravelle III using brake chute while landing on wet runway at Berlin Tegel during 1964 (photo)
  24. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, p. 8, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  25. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, pp. 4, 5, 8, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  26. ^ Hot route in the Cold War, Friday, Jul. 03, 1964
  27. ^ a b c Pan Am: Berlin balance, Air Transport, Flight International, 26 July 1973, pp. 124/5
  28. ^ Aircraft Illustrated (Airport Profile — Berlin-Tempelhof), Vol 42, No 1, p. 30, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, January 2009
  29. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, pp. 5, 8, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  30. ^ Berlin subsidy cut opposed, Air Transport, Flight International, 2 October 1982, p. 971
  31. ^ Detour via Schönefeld (translated article title), Aviation (translated section title), Der Spiegel (German news magazine), vol. 29, 1971, 12 July 1971, p. 41 (German language only)
  32. ^ Saturn Airways Douglas DC-7C (photo)
  33. ^ Overseas Aviation (CI) in trouble, Flight International, 24 August 1961, p. 269
  34. ^ World Airlines Survey ..., Flight International, 13 April 1961, p. 480
  35. ^ a b Berlin Airport Company, April 1968 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1968
  36. ^ A Jet into Berlin Tempelhof, Air Commerce ..., Flight International, 17 December 1964, p. 1034
  37. ^ Aeroplane — The Battle of Berlin, Vol. 111, No. 2842, p. 15, Temple Press, London, 7 April 1966
  38. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, pp. 4, 5, 6, 8, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  39. ^ Aircraft Illustrated (Airport Profile - Berlin-Tempelhof), Vol 42, No 1, p. 34, Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, January 2009
  40. ^ a b c One-Eleven 500 into service ..., Flight International, 7 November 1968, p. 742
  41. ^ a b En route with BEA, One-Eleven 500 into service ..., Flight International, 7 November 1968, p. 748
  42. ^ a b En route with BEA, One-Eleven 500 into service ..., Flight International, 7 November 1968, p. 749
  43. ^ Aeroplane — The Battle of Berlin, Vol. 111, No. 2842, pp. 16/7, Temple Press, London, 7 April 1966
  44. ^ Aeroplane — The Battle for Berlin: Round One a draw, Vol. 112, No. 2878, p. 4, Temple Press, London, 15 December 1966
  45. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, p. 6, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  46. ^ Aeroplane — The Battle of Berlin, Vol. 111, No. 2842, p. 16, Temple Press, London, 7 April 1966
  47. ^ Aeroplane — Pan Am and the IGS, Vol. 116, No. 2972, pp. 5-6, Temple Press, London, 2 October 1968
  48. ^ Aeroplane — The Battle of Berlin, Vol. 111, No. 2842, p. 16, Temple Press, London, 7 April 1966
  49. ^ Berlin deal goes ahead, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 3 October 1968, p. 520
  50. ^ Berlin Change, Air Transport, Flight International, 25 May 1972, p. 755
  51. ^ Berlin Airport Company, November 1972 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1972
  52. ^ British Airways Super One-Eleven Division - Internal German Services, Air Transport, Flight International, 1 August 1974, p. 104
  53. ^ The airline from Berlin, Flight International, 5 August 1989, p. 29
  54. ^ Flight International, 25 July 1968, p. 122
  55. ^ One-Eleven 500 into service ..., Flight International, 7 November 1968, p. 744/5
  56. ^ Bespoke for BEA, One-Eleven 500 into service ..., Flight International, 7 November 1968, p. 746
  57. ^ Manchester gateway, Air Transport ..., Flight International, 15 July 1971, p. 80
  58. ^ Berlin Airport Company, November 1971 Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, Berlin Airport Company, West Berlin, 1971
  59. ^ British Airways Super One-Eleven Division - Internal German Services, Air Transport, Flight International, 1 August 1974, p. 104
  60. ^ Berlin's commuter market grows, Flight International, 2 April 1988, pp. 6, 8
  61. ^ a b Official public information brochure of the pros and cons of the referendum (German).
  62. ^ Grünes Licht für Schließung des Flughafens Berlin-Tempelhof. Press release of the Federal Administrative Court of Germany, 4 Dec. 2007 (available at
  63. ^ Official public announcement of the call for support (German)
  64. ^ Official page of the State of Berlin: see Article 63 (1), second sentence of the Berlin constitution (German); with regard to the figures, see the official referendum schedule, at the end of the page(German).
  65. ^ Official referendum schedule, at A. 6 (German).
  66. ^ Official information on the number of signatures lodged.
  67. ^ Official referendum schedule, at B. 2 (German).
  68. ^ a b Official public information brochure of the pros and cons of the referendum (German)
  69. ^ Official press release on the referendum (German)
  70. ^ ICAT Interessengemeinschaft City-Airport Tempelhof
  71. ^ BBI Press release: Berlin Airports welcome BBI decision by the Federal Constitutional Court on BBI
  72. ^ Official results of the referendum published by the municipal election supervisor
  73. ^ Ende der Legende. In: Der Tagesspiegel, 31 October 2008
  74. ^ Abflug in die Geschichtsbücher, Tagesspiegel Berlin, Nov 25 2008
  75. ^ BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN Airport Berlin-Tempelhof
  76. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE International
  77. ^ Berlin Festival 2009 website
  78. ^ ASN Aircraft accident description Douglas C-54A-DO F-BELI - near Berlin, Germany
  79. ^ LOT Tu-134 hijacker faces trial in US court, Air Transport, Flight International, 9 September 1978, p. 934
  80. ^ Short hauls ..., Air Transport, Flight International, 29 August 1981, p. 609


  • Berlin Airport Company (Berliner Flughafen Gesellschaft [BFG]) — Monthly Timetable Booklet for Berlin Tempelhof and Berlin Tegel Airports, several issues (German language edition only), 1965-1975. West Berlin, Germany: Berlin Airport Company. 
  • Flight International. Sutton, UK: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0015-3710.  (various backdated issues relating to commercial air transport at Berlin Tempelhof during the Allied period from 1950 until 1990)
  • Simons, Graham M. (1993). The Spirit of Dan-Air. Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises. ISBN 1-8703-8420-2. 
  • Aircraft Illustrated (Airport Profile — Berlin-Tempelhof [pp.28-35], Vol. 42, No. 1, January 2009. Hersham, UK: Ian Allan Publishing.  (Aircraft Illustrated online) ISSN 0002-2675

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address