Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Farewell to Berlin's Historic Tempelhof

Berlin is now working to concentrate air traffic from its trio of air hubs into one, new international airport scheduled to open in October of 2011, Capital Airport BBI. The new airport will also mean the closing of Berlin’s current largest airport, Tegel. The New York Times offered a deep story and slide show from May, when the city was ensnared in debate about Tempelhof’s future. I highly recommend it. The Berlin airport site also has posted some beautiful photography to peruse showing the airport’s past, including the two images here. I have flown to and from Tegel, but I never had the opportunity to be a passenger or visitor at Tempelhof. I really wish I had.

Posted by: Justin Bachman on October 30 2008

With a tinge of sadness, 80 years of history will end on Oct. 31 with the formal closing of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, or Zentral Flughafen as it was long known. This airport – “the cradle of aviation” in the words of a press release issued by Berlin’s airport authority – was built in 1923 and remains one of the only surviving airports constructed before World War II. With Hitler-led renovations, Tempelhof became a representation of Nazi architecture – and later the aviation home of the famous airlift effort to oppose Soviet repression in 1948-49.

In the fall of 1909, Orville Wright took off from Tempelhof and made history as the first engine-powered flight to depart German soil. It is hard to overstate the airport’s role in history and commerce: It was once Europe’s largest hub and the home of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, now one of the world’s biggest carriers. The last commercial flight is scheduled to be German carrier Cirrus Airlines’ flight 1569 to Mannheim, late on Thursday. After that, two historic, restored airplanes will depart just before midnight for a flight over the city.

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