Berlin’s Tegel Airport will stay open, limp along for a few more months

Jun 3, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s not time to say “auf weidersehen” to Berlin’s Tegel Airport (TXL) just yet. The close-to-downtown airport will continue operating for at least a few more months, extending the life of an airport that could have closed to flights in less than two weeks.

That comes after Berlin’s airport authority — the Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, or FBB —   agreed just last month to a plan that would “temporarily” shutter Tegel beginning June 15.

The airport was already slated to close in the fall, coinciding with the opening of the city’s long-delayed, new Brandenberg (BER) facility. The expectation was that the “temporary” closure to Tegel would become permanent, and that the airport would just never reopen.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more aviation news.

Tegel has far outgrown its design capacity, with passenger numbers testing its operational limits in recent years. Despite that, the airport remained popular with many travelers for its compact size (few long walks) and convenient location to central Berlin.

But in the last few months, the coronavirus-fueled demand slump sent passenger traffic tumbling at German airports — just as it has in many other countries around the world. With that downturn, TXL’s operators had been planning to consolidate flights at Schönefeld, the city’s other existing airport that sits adjacent to the nearly-completed BER.

However, as travel restrictions across Europe ease and passenger traffic rebounds, the FBB thinks it could benefit from the extra capacity and has altered course on plans to close Tegel. It now plans to keep the airport open until BER is finally ready, with a planned opening date of Oct. 31, The Associated Press reported.

More from TPG:Why I always board last, no matter where I’m sitting on the plane

Berlin’s airport saga has become a legendary aviation nightmare.

It was originally slated to open in 2011, but its inauguration has been repeatedly delayed by a series of construction and engineering snafus, and project management problems. Among the issues: one of the main contractors went bankrupt and new building’s fire detection system was deemed ineffective and unsafe. The latter issue was particularly embarrassing for airport authorities, forcing them to scrap a planned 2012 grand opening less than a month before flights were supposed to begin. A management shakeup ensued, and now — more than eight years later — the airport has yet to open after several more planned opening dates that have come and gone.

There’s a whole English-language podcast about the issue if you want to take a deep dive — though stay away if you’re easily offended by strong language.

For now though, Tegel, will continue serving as Berlin’s main airport. Originally constructed to serve as a gateway to West Berlin during the Cold War era, the airport is known for its 1970s architecture and a layout that struggles to accommodate crucial aspects of modern air travel, like pre-flight security checks.

More:How far can airborne covid germs really spread on a plane?

Featured photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.