Berlin Tegel Airport Closing On June 15, 2020

Filed Under: Travel

Update: Plans have changed. Berlin Tegel Airport will now stay open through November 8, 2020.

This sure is going to be a strange year for airports in Berlin, as Brandenburg Airport will finally open, while Tegel Airport will be closing early…

Berlin Tegel Airport closing June 15, 2020

In late April it was first revealed that Berlin Tegel Airport will be “temporarily” closing early, though there’s now an update on that. The shareholders of the parent company of Tegel Airport have now voted for the airport to be closed as of June 15, 2020.

While it’s claimed that this is only a temporary closure, it seems highly likely that this will be permanent.

This is Berlin’s current biggest airport, though like many airports it has suffered significantly with reduced demand. This comes as the airport has seen a huge drop in passenger numbers, with passengers currently amounting to 1% of normal amounts on some days. The company running the airport is allegedly losing one million Euros per day, so closing the airport will save costs.

Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport will remain open throughout all of this. This airport is ordinarily used by low cost carriers, though all airlines continuing service to Berlin will move operations there.

It’s interesting that it took so long for Tegel Airport to be closed, given that there has been virtually no demand for the past couple of months, yet the airport has remained open.

Presumably Lufthansa will move to Schönefeld Airport

Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens October 31, 2020

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is expected to open on October 31, 2020, only about nine years late and about €4 billion over budget. Construction on the airport started in 2006, but they’ve missed 10 planned opening dates for the airport due to a combination of corruption and incompetence.

The new terminals have just passed inspections, so it looks like the anticipated opening date is actually happening this time. There are no plans for moving up the opening date, despite Tegel Airport closing in June.

It’s perhaps worth clarifying that the new Brandenburg Airport is actually just a new terminal on the other side of Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport, so if they do make the transition in October it will be easy to do so. While we call it a new airport, it’s actually just a (major) new terminal for an existing airport.

New Berlin Brandenburg Airport

Bottom line

Berlin Tegel Airport will “temporarily” close as of June 15, though it seems much more likely that the closure will be permanent. Berlin Brandenburg Airport (which is essentially a terminal of an existing airport) will finally open in late October, and presumably in the meantime Schönefeld Airport will do the trick for meeting demand.

At least this would make the transition to the new airport easier, since they could easily move equipment between Schönefeld and Brandenburg.

Do you think Tegel Airport’s closure is temporary, or…?

Comments
  1. Hard to imagine TXL will ever reopen which is a huge bummer. It’s quirky, but once you understand it it’s a great little airport (pretty ideal to have as a home airport, tbh). Before any of this started I had a flight out of TXL for late October that was gonna be my last hurrah with it. Pretty sad that I’ve probably already had my last flight out of Tegel without knowing it.

  2. Maybe you should mention that the “new airport” is not a new airport but only a new added terminal for Schönefeld airport. The airport itself is and was already there!

  3. This is not strange but what Berlins politicians want. They don’t care that the public voted for the airport to stay open a few years ago. They want the BER and corona helps them to get what they want. Otherwise it would have made more sense to close SXF.

  4. Ben, you should update headline and post as it is not definitive!

    Der Aufsichtsrat hatte zuvor einen entsprechenden Antrag einstimmig beschlossen, die Gesellschafterversammlung traf keine Entscheidung. Sie will sich in zwei Wochen erneut mit dem Thema beschäftigen. Während Berlin und Brandenburg eine Schließung angesichts des zum Stillstand gekommenen Flugbetriebs befürworten, hat der Bund Vorbehalte dagegen.

    The Gesellschafterversammlung did not decide on it yet!!! ‘might’ close should cover it better

  5. Noooo, it was such a pearl!
    Never checked thoroughly, but I’m pretty sure having an airport with so many international, intercontinental and long distance flights so close to a city centre is pretty rare. Heck, I could get there in less than 20 mins ON A BIKE, and I even didn’t live that close. Biking was actually pretty popular among airport-goers, so much that they installed quite a few bike stalls there. That must be pretty rare.
    Oof.

  6. @Frank Sasse, I would call it a little more than “a new terminal”. Yes, it does re-use the old Schönefeld runway, but otherwise evertything else is new.

  7. We can talk about details, yes.

    Lets call it extension of existing infrstructure. The area itself, the runway…..

    People with no local or specific aviation knowledge think of a completely new airport somewhere else as a new, third airport in Berlin when they read that article.

    And this is wrong.

  8. I think this is a good opportunity to close Tegel, and move the traffic to Schönefeld. Since there is virtually no traffic, staff can concentrate on moving everything to Schöndeld without having to do it “overnight”. And then, whenever the new airport opens, the transition will be much easier, you just bring everything from one side of the north runway to the other side.

    Critics have also been saying that the new airport is too small before it has even opended. But, because of corona, and Air Berlin going out of business, I guess that is no longer true.

  9. @Frank Sasse, I agree that it would have been important to point out, especially for people wondering why Schönefeld was not closed instead of Tegel.

  10. Tegel has a charm to it, yes, but it’s also inefficient as there are only a few gates and immigration is done at the gate itself- there is no centralized facility. It can be very slow and you end up just standing in the jetway as the queue trickles forward.

  11. I guess I missed something here but will Schoenefeld be taking over the flights between June 1 and October when the new airport opens? I’m confused by this. I have a return flight on UA from TXL to EWR in July..Will I be departing out of Shoenefeld? Vielen Dank im Voraus

  12. @The nice Paul Couldn’t after more. I used to visit Berlin twice a year flying into Tempelhof. The Mercure in Neukölln we stayed in used to provide a shuttle serve to and from the airport. You could land, clear security and be checked into the hotel in no time.

  13. Amazing how quickly Tegel was built and how hard it is to close! I flew out in 2011 and thought it would be the last time, “Oh I’m going to miss Tegel.” Maybe this time is for real.

  14. @Tom Stindl:
    Most likely your flight will be cancelled and you will be booked from TXL to FRA to EWR.
    If your flight will not be cancelled, you will fly from SXF.

  15. Please allow me to pile on here, and it’s not just this blog that has been guilty of this, but we’ve all been told (by media at large) that Brandenburg is an entirely NEW airport. This is NOT the case. It’s a new terminal at Schönefeld Airport – which I see as not unlike the new terminal at New Orleans or Terminal 2 at MSP or any number of other airport additions. In this case, the new terminal will be dominant but the actual airfield is the same.

    Which is why the air of mystery regarding why TXL would be closed and a move made to Schönefeld rings so hollow. Doing so, while not the most conventional way to transition, does indeed make the eventual move into the new terminal that much simpler.

    Again, Lucky is actually better than the vast majority of travel sites in that he at least noted this geography in the article. So many others (and televised reports) act as if Brandenburg is a new airport with new runways in some other part of Berlin. It’s not, really.

  16. ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’ COVID-19 is a great cover to shutter Tegel – permanently. Most Berliners want to keep it open – including non-Berliners – as it is closer to the city center (but not as good as Tempelhof was). This then is the stealth of day operation to get BER going as the main airport. So long, TXL, it was great while it lasted.

    While BER has been given the technical OK (electric, elevators, auto. doors, escalator, fire system, etc.) the one thing that still has not been fixed is the short distance from terminal entry doors to the check-in counters!!! This is going to be very interesting to see when it opens. What a disaster in incompetence.

    BER will have a dedicated train line to the city, which TXL doesn’t, but think about what taxi fares – should you take one – will now be, at least double or triple. Progress. Not.

    Oh, and take a look at what Warsaw, Poland plans for a new airport – 40 km away versus the current 6 km. Progress. Not. Let’s hope COVID puts a stop to that loony plan.

  17. I’m thinking 1% of usual traffic is about all TXL can handle efficiently . I loved the location, and it was kind of quirky and fun, but what a terrible airport for a major European capital!

  18. This is just adding another absurd episode to the Berlin airport debacle. Why would anyone impose two moves to the airlines and passengers … but Berlin airports are not about airlines and even less about passengers. They are only about politicians.

  19. LUCKY wondered why TXL has not already been closed temporarily. The reason is that the federal government vetoed. TXL still is the government airport as of now. But both Brandenburg state and Berlin state want to close TXL, as wants the company who runs TXL.

  20. @stogieguy7

    I used to wonder a few years back why they did that and still never got an answer until this day.

    I’ll be waiting to see if there will be repositioning SXF-BER flights. If I own an airline there, I would operate the world’s shortest flight.
    The greatest PR stunt ever, a record that can’t never be broken (if it even counts?).

  21. I guess the time has finally come… Toured BER while it was closed, will def be an improved airport experience but I will miss TXL for sure. To me TXL embodies the spirit of Berlin… a little scrappy, cool & gets the job done. So easy to get to & it’s in the same city zone on transit passes (SFX/BER requires an additional zone). Tempelhof would be cool to fly into, only got to experience it in its early days of reuse, was a great venue for the few BerlinFests that were held there… Robyn in a massive hanger was awesome!

  22. I will miss having immigration all of 100 feet from the plane itself. Efficient to have immigration at each gate? No way. But made landing and getting out super quick. I know of no other major airport that offers that (I could be wrong of course).

    Yes of course the airport was anything but modern and highly unattractive, but still, like others said here…quirky and generally a breeze to get in and out of.

    Ah well, 5 miles walks to get to immigration after landing here we come!

  23. Clearly a political ploy to get Tegel closed, against a clear majority of the popular vote and a convincing series of practical reasons to keep it open. I’ll venture out there this weekend to walk the hexagon that is the main terminal, make a few pics, likely it will be my good-bye to a much loved gate into the world.

    Love and respect to the Nice Paul and everyone who misses Tempelhof. Tegel’s closing will be a sad echo to the loss of THF.

  24. Please stop and read, SXF had only one runway, BER has two runways, so its not only a new terminal, it is a new airport where the one existing SXF runway is renovated and lengthened from 3,000 to 3,600 metres.

  25. @Chris……Actually, Chris, Daniel is correct. What he said was not mentioned in any other comments. Perhaps it is you that needs to “stop and read what others have already commented”.

  26. The Berliners voted in a referendum some years ago and the majority of the people wanted it to stay open. However the Berlin Government, a coalition of Social Democrats, Green Party and Communist Party are ignoring that will.

    The drive out to the new airport will take about 1,5 hours from the city center and the traffic to there is already a nightmare, even without the new airport. Taxis will cost a small fortune.

    The saddest part is, that there will hardly be any nonstop connections to international destinations, since Lufthansa never cared about Berlin and all the traffic goes through FRA or MUC. There is not one single Lufthansa Flight to the US, Asia, India – nowhere.

  27. It’s so odd to see people lamenting the closure of Tegel, claiming it was the people’s will to stay open etc. Certain things should not be decided by “the” people, because most of them are clueless about the complexity of the matter and will only look at their own selfish interests. I appreciate some people find it hard to move away from something they’re used to, but in fact Tegel is a lost case from both an economical, and an environmental point of view. It’s an outdated, wasteful design, that costs much more to operate than it should, and adds a lot of noise to already noise-polluted central Berlin. The claims by other commenters, that it would take 1.5 hours to get to the new airport are flatly untrue.
    But what can you do… there’s still so many people who think Tempelhof should have never been closed down, whereas in fact that airport had even less reason to stay open than Tegel does. And they’re still ranting or moaning, even though they gained a huge public space that is vastly popular among Berliners.

  28. @Frank Sasse — It is certainly odd to see Berlin Brandenburg talked about as an entirely new airport. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, the exact same thing happened this past November — an all-new terminal opened on the other side of the runway, and the old terminal permanently closed. Yet MSY is still MSY, and nobody thinks of it as a new airport.

    The difference, I guess, is that MSY didn’t change its IATA code — while SXF will become BER.

  29. The new airport is an extension of Schönefeld , therefore it makes sense Airlines will use the old terminal and switch over to the new one once ( if) it opens

  30. Sad news as TXL (as far as I know) was pretty unique in the world. I was too small for the pre-corona demand – thats out of discussion. But I will miss that I walked from the aircraft door to a taxi in less than 3 minutes (on a schengen-flight). Thats impossible to beat…

  31. @Dan,

    The many non-AvGeek people I know in NOLA absolutely consider MSY a “new” airport (as opposed to say a “second” or “different” airport) for NOLA and will refer to it as such in conversation. While it’s IATA code didn’t change, as you mentioned, 100% of the pax facilities are new. The vast majority of travelling public are unaware of the nuances of what’s considered a new airport versus a new terminal, and thus consider the full closure of existing facilities and opening of all new facilities as a new airport. Perhaps semantics, but most folks are going to continue to call it a new airport. Same with MCI…eventually; a new single terminal replacing all existing terminals which will then be razed. For all intents and purposes a new airport utilizing the same runway.

  32. For BER the terminal is indeed new and runway 07L/25R is an existing SXF runway. 07R/25L is new and has been constructed for BER, it is currently closed and not accessible to SXF traffic and in any even the taxi to it from the SXF terminal would be comparable with the Polderbahn at AMS. What was the second SXF runway has disappeared into the construction site but the old eastern end of it still can be seen on satellite views of the site.

  33. In a year the corona virus will be a fading memory and Berliners will be stuck with one Lukla-style airport instead of three, with no direct rail link to the city center (in construction, will be ‘maybe’ ready by 2028, sure, just like BER was ready in 2012…), a mile walk BY FOOT to a crappy little railway station with open platforms (yes, winter is severe). Read that again, a mile outdoors walk in rain, hail or snow with your bags and granny Bertha doing her best to keep up with your trolly, just to get to a train of the type popular in 1980s Soviet capitals.
    At a time when capitals all over the world INCREASE airport numbers and capacities, Berlin reduced the number of airports from three to one (and the remaining one is not even in Berlin its in the adjacent state of Bradenburg). Even when opened BER will be far too small for current needs. Closing Tegel is undemocratic since 3 years ago most Berliners voted to keep it open. But since when did communists worry about votes?

  34. I think everyone here is referring to the iconic and unique Terminal A of TXL.
    Unfortunately in recent times many airlines have been operating from Terminal C and D, which are a complete nightmare to use (no jetbridges, no immigration at gate, minimal passenger services, almost no seating and no lounges in Terminal D).
    Terminal C looks like a warehouse with no services whatsoever and has been the only terminal operating since the start of the Covid pandemic. Personally I’m glad that it’ll be dismantled soon.

  35. We lived very closed to Tegel Airport. It was always very comfortable to get home after a long flight. Although Tegel is small and with a luck of services, it is quite cozy and convinient for many people because it is almost in the middle of the city!
    I am very sad that it will be closed because Schönenfeld its a nightmare concerning the distance and time to get there!

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