30 years ago, today was a special day for the German flag carrier Lufthansa. It marked the first time the airline landed at the Berlin Tegel Airport, a little under a month after the country’s reunification. Now, Tegel is set to close in just over a week.
Berlin’s aviation scene is currently undergoing significant changes. Around ten years later than planned, the city’s new Brandenburg Airport is finally opening. However, this means that the old Tegel Airport will be closing as the city’s flights are being consolidated to one location. This isn’t the only time that an airport has closed in Berlin, following the closure of Tempelhof in 2008.
Why does Berlin have two airports?
The city of Berlin has two airports for a straightforward reason. Before the fall of the Berlin wall, West Berlin was surrounded by East Germany. This, in part, contributed to the fact that Frankfurt is the country’s modern-day capital city of aviation.
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Given the importance of the Berlin Air Bridge, Tegel Airport was built in West Berlin. Meanwhile, Schönefeld was on the east side of the Berlin Wall. Since East and West Germany were unified, Tegel became the city’s main airport, while Schönefeld has been a low-cost hub.
German reunification took place on October 3rd, 1990. Before reunification, West German airline Lufthansa didn’t serve the city of Berlin. Airlines from West Germany weren’t able to fly through East German airspace. This is why Air France was the first airline to use the airport. Following reunification, however, Lufthansa found itself able to fly to Berlin.
Lufthansa’s first flight to Berlin’s Tegel Airport landed on October 28th, 1990. The flight was operated by a Lufthansa Airbus A310 registered as D-AIDK. After a town in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the aircraft was called Donaueschingen and was delivered to Lufthansa in March of 1990.
Tegel Airport set to close
Despite being the site of Lufthansa’s first flight to Berlin, thirty years on Berlin Tegel Airport is set to close, Lufthansa will operate its final flight to the airport on November 7th. Meanwhile, Air France’s last flight will follow a day later on November 8th.
All flights are being shifted over the city’s new Brandenburg Airport. This new facility is built on Schönefeld Airport’s site and was still called Schönefeld up until last weekend. The airport’s old Terminal will remain for low-cost carriers such as Ryanair.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa will move across to the new Terminal 1 building, set to open on Saturday. The first departure from the airport’s new terminals will occur on Sunday, an easyJet flight to London Gatwick at 06:45. Simple Flying will be in Berlin to report on the airport’s opening.
Will you miss Brandenburg Airport? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.