Berlin’s Tegel Airport is set to close for two months from mid-June due to a massive fall in demand. However, with Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport set to open in October, finally, will we ever see Tegel reopen?
Berlin is currently a city of two airports. Tegel handles more full-service operations, while Schönefeld has been handling the more low-cost operators, such as Ryanair. Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport is being built next to Schönefeld. However, despite having been plagued with construction issues, the airport is finally due to open later this year, with Lufthansa’s move-in date confirmed.
According to the German news website DW, Berlin’s Tegel Airport will close on June 15th. The closure is currently slated to last just two months. However, depending on how the situation in the aviation industry pans out, this could still change. The airport’s closure should save its operator €200,000 ($220,000) a day.
According to the airport’s operator, both airports handled 27,593 passengers between them in April. Tegel handled 22,079 of these passengers. By comparison, in April 2019, Tegel handled 2,091,558 passengers and Schönefeld 1,010,570 passengers.
In early May, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, said:
Even though air traffic almost came to a standstill in April, the capital region still needs to remain accessible via air. With persistently low traffic figures, a concentration of air traffic at the Schönefeld site is unavoidable.Advertisement:
Why close Tegel?
According to the statistics from April this year, and in 2019, Tegel handles more passengers than Schönefeld. So why is the city closing Tegel Airport?
Tegel Airport had already been slated for closure before the current crisis. When Berlin Brandenburg finally opens, Tegel’s operations are due to transfer across.
The amount of time that traffic takes to recover will ultimately determine whether Tegel reopens in the meantime. As we saw from its passenger figures, Schönefeld could comfortably handle current operations.
Additionally, Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier, is expecting passenger traffic to take until 2023 to return to pre-crisis levels. Berlin’s Brandenburg is slated to open in under half a year. If Schönefeld can continue to cope with a lower traffic demand until then, there will be no need to reopen Tegel Airport.
Of course, anything is possible. A year ago, many wouldn’t have thought that we’d be where we are now. If traffic does bounce back quicker than expected, or Brandenburg’s opening gets pushed back again, there could be a need for Tegel once more.
In the meantime, Berlin Brandenburg Airport is already proving useful as a location to store aircraft for both Lufthansa and easyJet.
Do you think that this is the final nail in the coffin for Tegel, or will it open again? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.