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

June 03, 2020
3 min read
Berlin's Tegel Airport will stay open, limp along for a few more months
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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.

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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.

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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 image by Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more