Airlift airport closes: So long, Tempelhof

Airlift airport closes: So long, Tempelhof

Friday’s the last day for Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. Sad thing, really. Regional airliners and general aviation flights will now have to go to far away Schoenefeld Airport–about an hour’s drive, or subway ride, from Berlin’s city center. True, traffic at Tempelhof had slowed since the mid-1970s, when the major airlines left to go to Tegel, another Berlin airport. By the way, Tegel itself is scheduled to close in 2012 or 2013. Meanwhile, Schoenefeld (to be renamed Berlin-Brandenburg International, or BBI) is designated as Berlin’s sole airport. But it’s in no way prepared to handle the influx of new flights that would have used Tegel or Tempelhof.

So add one more to the growing list of the world’s shuttered downtown airports.

We’re covering the Tempelhof closing online, and hope you’ll check out the story and video of an ILS approach (in VFR conditions) that I made to runway 27L last year, as part of our anti-user-fees initiative. Even flew between those apartment buildings, just like the DC-3s and -4s that shot the same gap during the Airlift.

What do you think of this closure? Anybody out there ever flown into Tempelhof, flew in the famous Berlin Airlift to Tempelhof in 1948-49, or served there when it was an Air Force base?

Enjoy these three videos, testimony to a grand airport in world and aviation history.

Last chance for Tempelhof

AOPA-Germany’s managing director, Michael Erb, wrote me the other day asking for help in saving Berlin, Germany’s Tempelhof Airport. It may be the last chance to keep the historic airport open. A referendum to keep the airport open failed to get enough votes earlier this year. And Klaus Wowereit (pronounced Vo-ver-ite), Berlin’s mayor, who has always wanted to close Tempelhof, now seems to be on track to getting his way. He’s the Richard Daley of Berlin.

Erb sent me a link that you can use to send in your vote to preserve the airport as a UNESCO world heritage site. Here it is:

Fill it out and send it in. It’s the most we can do at this point.

How ironic that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama used the Berlin Airlift so often in his recent speech in Berlin. Without once referring to the airport that made it possible. Anyway, here’s a way to make your voice heard on the matter.

Gehen Sie am 18. September wählen, wählen Sie was Sie wollen, aber wählen Sie Wowereit ab.