If you plan to fly to Berlin next month you will arrive at the new Berlin Branderburg Airport, BER also known as Willy Brandt Airport, BER. Tegel is closing and already its functions are being transferred ahead of the opening of the new Willy Brandt Airport, BER.
Historically Berlin had 3 airports, Tempelhof the first airport to be build in the South, then Tegel in the North West in 1948 and in East Germany, Schonefeld airport, South East, serving the Communist regime. Berlin being a divided city after 1945 and occupied by the French, British, American and the Soviets everyone got a piece of the cake.
Until 1975 Tempelhof was the West Berlin Airport, after 1975 international traffic was diverted to Tegel, TXL in what was then the French Sector the divided city. Tempelhof handled domestic flights from West Germany.
Tempelhof we know today with its gigantic terminal was built by the Nazi Regime in 1934 as Hitler’s World Capital Airport. After the Second World War in 1948 a new airport was created to handle increasing air traffic and so Tegel was opened. The Tegel airport you see today with its two post modernist Hexagonal terminals was built in the 1960’s and will now become a museum and the air strips will be a large green space.
Tempelhof was closed as an airport in 1996 it became a large green park. The site of the airport was originally Knight Templar land in medieval Berlin, and from this beginning came the name Tempelhof. Later, the site was used as a parade field by Prussian forces from 1720 to the start of World War one. In 1909, Frenchman Armand Zipfel made the first flight demonstration in Tempelhof, followed by Orville Wright later that same year. Tempelhof was first officially designated as an airport on 8 October 1923. The airline Lufthansa was founded in Tempelhof on 6 January 1926.
The old Tempelhof terminal, originally constructed in 1927, became the world’s first with an underground railway station, known as Paradestrasse. Tempelhof was in the American sector of Berlin and was the site of the air bridge during the Cold War.
On 25 October 2020 on the site of the former Schonefeld Airport, in what was East Germany in the Soviet Sector, a brand new terminal will open after major scandals and 11 years of delay and massive cost overruns. It will be the only airport in Berlin and it is hoped it can handle the ever increasing air traffic, though the pandemic has severely cut flights.
BER, Berlin Brandenburg, ” Willy Brandt” Airport, finally opening 25 October 2020.