Berlin Tegel Airport gets its name from its location in the community of Tegel, which is a suburb that is located to the north of the city of Berlin in the borough of Reinickendorf. The airport is the second busiest of those serving Berlin and ranks in the top five for passenger traffic in Germany.
Berlin Tegel Airport History
Air operations in the area trace back to the very earliest days of powered flight. The facility had its first aircraft hanger as early as 1906 and played a part in airship testing and development. During World War I an airstrip for training observation and reconnaissance pilots operated at Reinickendorf. After the war ended the facility was used for some of the earliest rocket tests. At the outbreak of World War II, the base was converted to a military training facility by the Germans and ultimately destroyed by Allied attacks.
Berlin Tegel Airport was a key destination airport during the Berlin Airlift in the late 1940s. The longest runway in Europe was constructed in a matter of weeks to accommodate the transport planes bringing in goods for the Berlin residents cut off by the Russian military. When the Airlift ended in 1949, the Tegel continued as a military airbase along with serving as a commercial airport.
During the Cold War era flights by western airlines had to thread a thin flight corridor into and out of Berlin Tegel. On at least two occasions, commercial flights strayed into airspace held by Russia and its allies. In both instances, the aircraft were escorted by fighter planes and forced to land.
Aiport Architecture & Amenities
Berlin Tegel International Airport
Berlin Tegel Airport has one of the most uniquely shaped terminal buildings in operation. The six-sided building encloses an open space in the center with the aircraft gates located on the outside of the enclosure. This places most gates close to the building entrance and exit areas making for convenient movement from and to the gates. This building is supplemented by additional terminals located on the grounds.
In all, five terminals provide about 90 check-in counters and 17 gates. In some cases, passengers are transferred to boarding stands located away from the terminals by bus. This configuration handles about 15 million people each year.
The airport operates under several limitations. Air operations occur between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. local time with noise restrictions in place for some aircraft.
Two parallel runways provide landing and takeoff space for about 160,000 flights each year. The longest runway exceeds 3,000 meters or 9,900 feet and has the capacity for all sized aircraft. The other runway is about 600 meters shorter.
Future plans for Berlin Tegel Airport are rather bleak. The airport is slated for abandonment when Berlin Brandenburg Airport becomes fully operational. This new airport is planned to provide the capacity necessary for effective air service to a unified Berlin in a reunified Germany. This planned abandonment has lead to reductions in the upgrades to terminal spaces for the past years. Berlin Bradenburg will also replace Tempelhof Airport as Germany consolidates all Berlin commercial air operations to a single location.