This is really about Tempelhof Field, which was retired in 1975 and turned into a vast city park. For most people my age, it will forever be the home of the Berlin Airlift. Berlin has two major airports and one on the way. In the northwest is Tegel, where many international flights arrive. In the southeast is Schönefeld, where many European flights arrive. And being built next to Schönefeld, there’s BER.
Tegel has been scheduled to close once the long-delayed Berlin-Brandenburg airport (BER) comes online. But in August 2018, voters told city planners they wanted to keep Tegel operating. The vote was non-binding, but it complicates plans to use the airport site for other purposes.
Something similar happened at Tempelhof in 2011. City planners had wanted to build new commercial areas and offices, 4,700 homes and a large public library on this site. After months of debate and despite a campaign backed by much of the media, voters preferred by nearly 2 to 1 to keep Tempelhof a park.
Tegel’s future may not be known for years. After almost 15 years in planning, more than a decade of construction, half a dozen delays and an estimated $5.75 billion in overruns (on an original budget of $2.3 billion), the Berlin Brandenburg Airport debacle goes on. Officials now hope to open BER in 2020.
This little yarn about Berlin airports also is where I take off. My Berlin trip is over, and this is the final post. Thanks to each of you who looked in on the blog. Your being along gave the trip a wonderful extra dimension.