Today, Sunday 8 November 2020, Air France flight AF1235 was the last-ever flight to depart from Berlin Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” Airport, or TXL for short. At 3.00 p.m., an Air France Airbus A320-200 took off bound for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Following the last departure and the end of operations at TXL, the area was symbolically handed over to the city. In line with the zoning decision for Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), TXL will be kept in operating condition for a further six months from the date of the complete commissioning of BER. During this period, however, no more flights will take place in Tegel.
At the end of the six-month period, the former airport site will start to be redeveloped into a new urban district. All air traffic in the German capital region will as off today take place solely at BER.
Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: “Today, 8 November 2020, marks the end of a very special chapter in the history of transport in the German capital region. Tegel has seen everything from the beginnings of aviation to mass air travel. This was made possible by the employees of the airport company and its partners at the airport, who achieved extraordinary things and made the airport unforgettable. For decades, this architectural icon was the gateway to the world for the people of Berlin. That is why there could have been no more fitting farewell for Tegel than an Air France flight.”
Stefan Gumuseli, General Manager Germany AIR FRANCE KLM: “We are very pleased to have the honour of being the last airline to leave Berlin Tegel airport today with flight AF1235 to Paris Charles de Gaulle. We have been closely associated with it for 60 years and say ‘#DankeTXL’! Having moved our services to the new BER airport, our time in Tegel has come to an end, but the history of Air France in Berlin continues...”
Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin: “This is not an easy farewell. The hearts of many people in Berlin are attached to Tegel. After all, this airport was enormously important for our city and had a symbolic significance beyond just air traffic. At the same time, however, this is an important new beginning for Tegel Airport. This site has an eventful and successful past. But it also has a great future. Thanks to the “Berlin TXL - The Urban Tech Republic” project, Tegel will be one of the most exciting places in our city in the years to come. The site will become one of Berlin’s key innovation hotspots, creating up to 20,000 jobs, with areas for industry, trade, fairs and congresses as well as for science and research.”
H. E. Anne-Marie Descôtes, Ambassador of the French Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany: “Tegel Airport is part of the shared history that links the city of Berlin and France. The fact that the last flight, which will take off from Tegel today at 3 p.m., is going to Paris, reflects this close bond.”
An airport with a long history
The history of aviation in Tegel goes back a long way: initial airship trials were carried out there as early as 1896. In the course of the Berlin Blockade, the airport located in the former French occupation zone was expanded at record speed in 1948 to support the US Airlift. At 2,428 metres, the newly built runway was the longest in Europe at the time.
Until 1990, only airlines of the occupying powers USA, Great Britain and France were allowed to land in Tegel in accordance with the provisions of the Four-Power Agreement on Berlin. A total of approximately 6.5 million take-offs and landings took place between 1948 and 2020.
The landmark hexagonal airport building, later known as Terminal A, was opened in 1974 with an initial capacity of around 6 million passengers. Terminal C was added in 2007. From the 2000s onwards in particular, Tegel Airport recorded steadily growing passenger numbers, with around 24.24 million passengers last handled in 2019. In June 2019, daily passenger numbers peaked at over 90,000. Only a few months later, in April 2020, the global air traffic crisis saw this figure temporarily drop to as few as 250 passengers per day.
The future of the hexagon
TXL’s hexagonal terminal has been a listed building since 2019. Redevelopment plans for the site include a research and industrial park for urban technologies, as well as housing and green space. Initially, Tegel Airport will remain operational for another six months. On 5 May 2021, the obligation to operate will expire, and TXL will technically no longer be an airport.
Photos and videos for the media will be available for download in the course of the evening at:
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