Last year Berlin Brandenburg Airport’s new terminal finally opened after a delay of almost a decade. This meant the closure of the city’s Tegel Airport around a week later. Now, six months later, the airport is set to lose its airport status officially.
Berlin’s airport authority (FBB) has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday Simple Flying revealed that the authority had registered a loss for the 2020 financial year of €1.058 billion ($1.276 billion). It hasn’t all been bad news for FBB, though. The lower number of passengers traveling through the city meant that the new airport’s opening went without significant hiccups.
End of an airport
Berlin’s Tegel Airport closed to flights in early November. But that wasn’t the official end of the airport. While not being used for flights, the airport has so far retained its operating license. This is now set to lapse at midnight tonight.
This means that the airport will cease to be an airport from midnight tonight and will instead become a field with taxiways and a runway, like the nearby Tempelhof Airport. While Tempelhof is now primarily a public park, Tegel won’t be instantly open to the public.
Over the coming years, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH will hand the site over to Berlin in phases, with the first hand-off taking place on Tuesday, according to The Local in Germany. The icon old terminal building will become part of the Beuth University of Applied Sciences. Meanwhile, other parts of the site are earmarked to be turning into 5,000 sustainable timber apartments, alongside a technology and industrial park.
FBB will retain some responsibility for the site over the coming year. For the next two and a half years, the airport authority will be responsible for dealing with contaminated sites. These could be polluted areas of soil or even previously undetected bombs from World War Two.
Tegel’s last operations
The weekend of November 8th and 9th marked the end of operations for many airlines at Berlin Tegel Airport. While you may think that flag carrier Lufthansa would get the honor of operating the last flight, this wasn’t the case. The German flag carrier did mark its last Tegel flight by placing an Airbus A350 onto the route.
The honor of operating the last and only flight on November 9th was given to the French flag carrier Air France. This was as the French flag carrier was the first airline to use the airport some sixty years earlier. In essence, the airline was able to close a chapter in aviation history that it had opened.
In the evening of November 9th, a final speech was given over the airport’s radio frequency calling the airport “A small light for the world – a big light for Berlin.” Following a final “Danke TXL,” the airport’s lights were switched off, marking the end of an era.
Will you miss Tegel Airport? Are you excited to see it transition into its next role? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!