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 OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.