Air France Is The Last Airline To Depart Berlin’s Tegel Airport

For 60 years, Air France has flown from Paris to Berlin Tegel. In fact, the French carrier was the inaugural airline to fly into Tegel back in 1960. Yesterday, November 8th, the airline operated its final flight from Tegel to Paris Charles De Gaulle, marking the end of an era. From here on out, the French carrier, as with all other airlines, has shifted its operations to the newly-opened Berlin Brandenburg airport.

Air France Tegel
Crowds were out in force to wave off the Air France flight. Photo: Getty Images

By transferring all its flights to Berlin-Brandenburg Willy Brandt airport, Air France will cease all operations to and from the historic German airport Berlin-Tegel. In 1960, it was the first airline to land a commercial flight at Berlin-Tegel. On 8 November 2020, it will also be the very last airline to take off from this airport before its final closure. To celebrate the event, customers on this last flight will enjoy special surprises. -Air France

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Air France Tegel
As the first airline to fly into Tegel at its opening, Air France was a fitting bookend to the airport’s history. Photo: Getty Images

Details of the final flight

Taking off at 15:39 on November 8th, flight AF1235 departed Berlin Tegel for Paris Charles De Gaulle and effectively closed a major chapter of Berlin’s aviation history.

The aircraft operating the flight was a 12.7-year-old Airbus A320 registered F-GKXP. As is fairly standard for Air France’s Paris-Berlin service, the aircraft was configured to be an all-economy class flight with 174 seats. With this configuration, any business class passengers will have the middle seat blocked off in the front section of the aircraft.

Air France tegel last flight
The final flight was about an hour and a half, landing in Paris at 17:06. Photo:
Air France Tegel
The flight took off into the late afternoon sun, ending an important chapter in German aviation. Photo: Getty Images

Air France’s history at Berlin Tegel

Air France has had a long history at Berlin Tegel- one that is laid out on a special section of its website.

According to the airline, the Tegel story for Air France began on January 2nd, 1960. It was on this day that a commercial flight, operated by a Lockheed Constellation, landed at Berlin-Tegel after a stopover in Frankfurt. From here, Air France would launch regular operations to the airport, which until then had only been used for military purposes.

Air France Tegel
It was an emotional goodbye for many fans of the Berlin airport. Photo: Getty Images

Here are some additional highlights of Air France’s history at Tegel as told by the carrier:

  • 1961: The Caravelle operated all flights to Berlin-Tegel.
  • 1976: The supersonic aircraft Concorde landed at Tegel – even before the start of its scheduled service. 60,000 visitors flocked to the airport.
  • 1977: Air France operated the Paris-Düsseldorf-Berlin route twice a day by Boeing B727-200 (154 seats) – replacing the smaller Caravelle.
  • 1980: Air France celebrated the 30th anniversary of its network in Germany and the 5,000,000th passenger on routes to and from Berlin.
  • 18 April 1988: Air France’s Airbus A320 celebrates its world premiere on the Paris-Berlin route.
  • November 1988: Start of the first of the 100 weekly flights of the new airline “EuroBerlin France” from Tegel to Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, and Stuttgart. The airline was 51% owned by Air France and 49% by Deutsche Lufthansa and was based at Berlin-Tegel.
  • 1st December 2017, the Air France subsidiary Joon started operations between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Berlin-Tegel up to six times a day. With the suspension of Joon in 2019, Air France once again started operating the route itself.
Air France Tegel
The last departure to ever be shown on this board. Photo: Getty Images

Air France in Berlin in 2020

The airline notes that until the start of the global health crisis, Air France operated up to six daily services between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Berlin-Tegel. Most often flying into the same gate at Terminal A for every service, Air France has maintained these services throughout the crisis. In fact, it has offered as many as 21 weekly flights between the two major European cities.

Air France Tegel
The aircraft received a water cannon salute. Photo: Getty Images

Moving forward, Air France will operate up to five daily flights between the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Many have described their experience at Tegel as a love-hate relationship. Its strange layout and small security-screening areas left much to be desired. But it was certainly a unique experience when compared to many other international airports around the world. For some travelers, Tegel will be missed. For others, there will be no loved lost.

Do you have any memories to share flying Air France (or Joon) between Paris and Berlin? Let us know in the comments!