Berlin (dpa) – The last scheduled passenger planes took off and landed at Berlin Tegel airport on Saturday. Therefore, normal operations at the 60-year-old location have been discontinued. In the evening, an Airbus A350 took off as Lufthansa’s last flight with around 280 passengers on board for Munich. Later two more transfer flights were scheduled to the new capital airport BER. The transfer of all airlines to the new location in Schönefeld has been completed. For Tegel this means the end.
Hundreds of people had already arrived there on Saturday morning to take another look between the Tower and Terminal A. There were significantly more visitors in the afternoon. And at night, too, many had come to say goodbye. The fever was especially great on the visitor’s terrace, said Daniel Tolksdorf, a spokesman for the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport Company (FBB). Overall, he guessed there were thousands of visitors on the last day.
Several takeoffs and landings could still be seen from the visitor platform on Saturday – a total of 70 flight movements were scheduled for the last day of regular operation. You have to say goodbye to a good dozen machines to take off with water fountains. Takeoffs and landings could also be observed from Terminal A.
Several families came and a notable number of visitors who wanted to take photos with the camera and not the smartphone, Tolksdorf said. For many, it was less about selfies than capturing memories of the airport with the acronym TXL, which has been familiar in Berlin for decades.
Last year, more than 24 million passengers took off and landed at Tegel Airport, which was last designed for around 10 million passengers a year. For years, much of the air traffic in the capital has been managed through the location, which until recently was completely overloaded. The Easyjet airline, which was the largest operator in Berlin until then, operated the largest location outside its home country, England, at Tegel. Many domestic flights also took off and landed there.
The Corona crisis had brought air traffic to a standstill in the spring and currently only about a third of the machines are flying compared to normal times.
The end of the airport remained controversial the weekend of its closure. The president of the Berlin FDP, Sebastian Czaja, called it “a monument to democratic ignorance.” His party, together with the Pro Tegel association, launched an initiative in 2015 to keep Tegel open. In a referendum that was not binding on the Senate, there were almost a million votes for the issue in 2017 and therefore a narrow majority.
“Tegel is and remains not only a part of Berlin, but has always been the source of income for the airport company FBB,” the FDP politician said on Saturday. “The Berlin Senate must now explain how it wants to save FBB from possible bankruptcy.”
Form the alliance «Tegel. Opening the future »sees it differently:« We are happy – finally heavenly peace. Don’t wake up from sleep at 6:00 in the morning, don’t constantly interrupt conversations outside in the park, ”he said Saturday. “And no plane will disturb your enjoyment with a glass of wine on the balcony at night.”
But it is not over yet. On Sunday afternoon another plane of the French airline Air France takes off bound for Paris. An Air France plane also made the first scheduled flight to Tegel. It landed on January 2, 1960.
At night, the lights will be turned off, as the airport company announced on Saturday, at 7:45 p.m. Katy Krüger, Head of Terminal Management at FBB, takes care of that. “With the symbolic ‘light off’, more than seven decades of aviation history at Tegel will end,” said FBB.