Tom Horne

Airlift airport closes: So long, Tempelhof

October 30, 2008 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

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.  

Click here if the video won’t play.

Click here if the video won’t play.

Click here if the video won’t play.



2 Responses to “Airlift airport closes: So long, Tempelhof”

  1. Robert L. Etter Maj USAF ret Says:

    Yes, Flew in twice and drove the family there for Thanksgiving while stationed at EDAF.

    The first time was while I was at KWRI flying C-118s. A small group of us were checked out on Pan Am DC-6s – the idea was that if the Reds closed Berlin again and the Pan Am guys refused to fly we would do it (complete with temp ATRs). Stood one two week alert at Rhein Main when Kennedy was killed – what happened after that I don’t know. On the checkout I was picked to do the takeoff from R/M and the landing at Tempelhof. The second time we (family) drove in through Checkpoints Alfa and Bravo into Berlin were among other things we had dinner at the “O” Club in ’68. The third time was an Air Evac run when I was with the 55th AAS Air Evac – normally the C-131 flew it but if they were down we dd it with a C-118.

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