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Aviation: Berlin - One Era Ends, A New One Begins


As October ended and November began, 2020 saw the end of operations at Berlin's Tegel airport as flights began at the city's new airport, Brandenburg Willy Brandt. With Tempelhof having closed in 2008, the cessation of flights at Tegel finally cut the link with Berlin's aviation past.

The capital of Germany had a number of airfields at one time, from Staaken and Johannisthal to Gatow and Schönefeld, the last of which served the former East Berlin. Only the northern part of Schönefeld remains in use, as part of the new Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport.


The Final Departure

Although Tegel has a long history, going back to the days of balloons and early rocket testing, it was the Berlin Airlift that saw it become an airfield. Its use had been confined to the military until Air France operated the first scheduled commercial arrival into Tegel with the Caravelle jet airliner in January 1960. The French national airline, in common with British European Airways (BEA), later to become British Airways along with Pan American, were the only airlines permitted to operate scheduled air services to Berlin after the end of World War II and had used Tempelhof. The runways there however, were too short for the Caravelle so the French airline moved its flights to Tegel. It was thus fitting that Air France should also operate Tegel's final commercial airline flight on November 8th.


Two sides of the same coin: the aircraft received the traditional salute as it was escorted to the runway for departure.



Above: all flight operations moved from Tempelhof to Tegel in 1975 following the opening of the terminal, which replaced the earlier single-storey facilities on the opposite side of the airport.


All images courtesy of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH.



The full story of Berlin Tegel can be found on our partner site, Airport History:

www.airporthistory.org



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