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Airport spotlight: Berlin Tempelhof retrospective

It's ten years since Berlin's historic Tempelhof Airport closed its runways to air traffic for the final time. Encroachment of residential development, reunification of Germany, and enhancements at Schonefeld in the former eastern sector of the city, put pressure on the city's politicians to stop flights to the downtown airfield.

Tempelhof opened in the 1920s. Work on its iconic terminal that was designed to enable aircraft to park under cover and passengers to embark and disembark in all weathers, started in 1927 and the structure was enhanced by the Nazi Party in the 1930s. It played a crucial role in the 1948 Berlin Airlift, when it became a bridgehead for supply flights into the isolated city. When the blockade was lifted, traffic at Tempelhof was limited to airliners flown by UK, US and French airlines and this continued until 1975 when the carriers moved to Tegel.

Commercial operations resumed on a limited basis in 1981, and continued until 2008. The decision to close Tempelhof was controversial as a referendum found 60% of the voters in favour of it remaining open - the result was non-binding as only 22% of the city's population participated. The last departures from the airport took place on November 28.

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