Berlin’s Tegel Airport will stay open, limp along for a few more months
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.
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.
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.
Featured photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
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.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery 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 $75 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 Pre✓®.
- 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