Berlin’s Tegel Airport To Close For 2 Months

On the 1st of June, Berlin’s Tegel may close its doors, and runways, for two months. The German capital’s most important airport will be “temporarily” closed to reduce the losses of the operating business. But with the new Berlin Brandenburg to finally open (fingers crossed) later this year, would there really be any need to reopen Tegel?

Tegel airport closing two months
Berlin’s Tegel may close “temporarily.” Photo: Getty Images

Bleeding €1 million per day

It’s not only airlines that are coronavirus aviation casualties. Travel bans have affected airports just as much, and they, too, are fighting for survival. Berlin’s Tegel Airport has seen its passenger numbers drop to 1% of average figures, and Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB), the company responsible for operations, is reportedly losing €1 million ($1.08 million) per day.

In a bid to stop the hemorrhaging of cash, FBB has requested that it be relieved of operation obligations and that the airport should close temporarily in a month from now, on the 1st of June. As reported by the Berliner Morgenpost, the company’s supervisory board is in favor of the closure, but the federal government still has some reservations.

According to One Mile At A Time, Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport, usually serving low-cost carriers, will remain open. All airlines currently still operating out of Tegel would move to Schönefeld.

Brandenburg Airport
The new Berlin Brandenburg has a new opening date in October. Photo: FBB

Berlin Brandenburg to open 31st of October

Then, there is a new date set for the opening of the much-anticipated Berlin Brandenburg Airport. After nearly a decade of delays, corruption allegations, technical problems, and legal battles, the new airport’s passenger terminal was finally approved by local construction authorities on Tuesday. FBB intends to open its doors on the 31st of October.

While the announcing of an opening date for Brandenburg has a little of boy-who-cried-wolf about it, as permits have now been obtained, it seems that larger airlines could be making it their Berlin home from November. And, as it is adjacent to Schönefeld, moving operations would not be too much of a hassle.

With the new Brandenburg clocking in as Germany’s third-largest airport behind Frankfurt and Munich, it will, in time, replace both Tegel and Schönefeld. With predictions for the recovery of air travel demand landing somewhere around two years, would it then even make sense to reopen Tegel once it has been closed?

Tegel airport closing temporarily
Has Tegel seen its last duty-free shoppers? Photo: Arne Müseler via Wikimedia Commons

Berlin TXL in 2040

The plan has always been for the new, larger airport to replace Berlin’s existing ones. The nearly two-square-mile airport Tegel will become Berlin TXL – a complex that will include residential buildings, a landscaped park, and vast research and industrial campus. But it will not be an overnight transformation. The project will cost several billions of euros and be completed sometime before 2040. By then, at least, air travel demand must surely have recovered?

If Tegel will close before the summer, will it ever reopen, or has the old West Berlin airport seen its last passenger security check? What are your thoughts?