Berlin to close Tegel Airport on 15 June, perhaps for good

A collapse in passenger numbers at the airport has called a change of plans for its reopening

Berlin's Tegel Airport is unlikely to survive the coronavirus pandemic, after the operator decided at a meeting on Wednesday to close the ageing facility provisionally from 15 June, a city finance ministry spokeswoman said. It is unclear whether the airport will ever reopen.

Berlin’s city government has decided to bring forward the closure of the historic airport that once served former West Berlin by four months due to the impact the corona crisis has had on passenger numbers. Tegel was supposed to close in October when the long-delayed new BER Berlin Brandenburg international airport opens its doors.

But now, Berlin's most centrally located and until now busiest airport will be taken offline for two months if passenger numbers don't drastically improve in the coming weeks. Berlin's meagre air traffic will then be consolidated to Schoenefeld Airport, on the capital's south-eastern outskirts. Tegel will, however, be kept in a state of preparedness should passenger numbers spike over the summer and threaten to overwhelm capacity at Schönefeld.

With over 24 million people flying via Tegel in the city's north-west last year, it was Germany's fourth-busiest aviation hub after Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf. Schoenefeld served over 11 million people last year. But recently, the capital's two functioning airports have only been flying around 2,000 passengers per day.

Nine years late and beset by a string of scandals, BER is set to open on a plot adjacent to Schoenefeld on 31 October. Under the current plans, Tegel is to close for good a week later.

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