Earlier this week, Berlin’s former Tegel Airport officially ceased to be an airport. While you might think that this means the costs of the airport disappear, this isn’t the case. Over the next three months, parts of the airport will be dismantled at the cost of €6 million ($7.3 million).
In recent years we’ve seen many new airports open worldwide, from Beijing’s Daxing in China to Istanbul’s new airport in Turkey. However, sometimes new airports come at a cost. Other airports that they are set to replace will close down. This was the case not only in Beijing but also in Berlin, where a new airport opened for the city last year.
Closing down an airport isn’t easy
You may think closing down an airport would be as easy as turning everything off and walking away. As Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the airport authority responsible for Berlin’s airport, has discovered, this is not the case.
Since Tegel’s last flight departed, the airport had been kept in a state of semi-closure. While it wasn’t being used for flights, the airport was kept operationally ready should the need arise. Thankfully, due to the lower passenger densities of the pandemic, the changeover to the new airport went without incident.
While the airport was kept operational, FBB had to spend some maintenance on its upkeep. This involved technical maintenance, such as maintaining the runway as safe to land on and keeping the air traffic control tower technically operational. Of course, this came at a cost. According to FBB, as of May 4th, when the airport ceased operations, the cost had amounted to around €3 million ($3.6 million).
Not out of the woods yet
FBB is not out of the woods yet. Some of the airport that was not essential to continued operations has already been dismantled. This included pedestrian bridges, the baggage transfer facility, and more. While the Tegel site will be gradually handed over to the city of Berlin, some more dismantling will need to take place first.
Over the next three months, the airport’s operational facilities, such as the air traffic control tower’s interior, and federal police facilities, will need to be taken apart. This will attract a further cost of €6 million. It seems that the total cost of Tegel since the last Air France flight departed is around €9 million ($10.9 million).
It’s not just the terminal buildings that are being dismantled. Yesterday, a Boeing 707 in poor condition and stranded at the site started to be ripped apart for auction. There is an attempt to save its sister over in Hamburg.
Commenting on the closure of Tegel, Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, said,
“Tegel performed its role very well until the last day. However, all the concerns about possible operational problems at BER have not materialised. BER Airport is running stably, it is modern, fit for purpose and well received by passengers. We are now clearing the way for a new era at Tegel.”
What do you make of the cost of closing Tegel? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!