Tegel, which is located 8 kilometers outside of the center of Berlin, is officially named after the German inventor and designer Otto Lilienthal. The airport used to be a test site for missiles and was later used by the Nazis as a training site.
The country’s fourth largest airport was an important link between West Berlin and West Germany during the Cold War. Berlin was divided into four and each part had its own airport. Until 1990, only the airlines of occupation forces France, the United Kingdom and the United States could land on Tegel.
Outdated, but loved
TXL, as the airport abbreviation, has been an outdated airport in recent years. After German reunification in 1990, Berlin became the country’s capital. Air traffic to and from Berlin thus also increased.
Tegel was insufficiently equipped for the large passenger flows and the new jumbo jets, as a result of which Berliners often had to transfer at Frankfurt airport for an international flight.
Tegel was loved by travelers for its small scale and location, close to the center of Berlin. In 2017, a majority of Berliners voted in a referendum to keep the airport open. But according to the municipality, this was not possible for legal and financial reasons.
Through the opening last week from the new Berlin Airport Brandenburg, Tegel is no longer needed. The opening of Brandenburg took years to come: according to the first plans, the opening would already be in 2011, but the project was significantly delayed due to scandals and blunders and the costs were billions of euros higher than budgeted. Brandenburg replaces Tegel and Tempelhof airports, which were already closed in 2008.
The municipality of Berlin now wants to transform Tegel into a research park for urban development.