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  • 31

Flughafen Tempelhof: Inside Berlin's Abandoned Downtown Airport

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An inside look at Berlin's abandoned downtown airport which was the focal point of the Berlin Airlift. (wp.me) Mehr...

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Moviela
Ric Wernicke 9
I miss Tempelhof and Kai Tak as two airports that are more convenient than a 7-11 on the corner. A Pan Am 74 from LA to Frankfort, then 72 or 73 to Berlin and you were in a Ku Dam hotel in 5 minutes, in a Mercedes Taxi no less. Berlin is not your typical European city. Even when the wall was up the West Berlin portion was a huge place including urban forests. While a unified Germany is a better place for all, there was a certain espirt de corps West Berliners enjoyed with an island mentality being surrounded by communism.

I always found it amusing at Tempelhof that at the passport checkpoint they only looked at the outside cover of American passports and waved you through. It's good to win the war.
thomasm703m
Tom Mcpherson 0
I have it on good authority that there are multiple underground levels to Tempelhof with elevators to move aircraft up to the surface during WW!!. This was flooded at the end of WW`` and may still be flooded. i was stationed in Berlin from 72 to 73 but did not then know about the many underground levels to the airport. I was told it went down seven levels. My source was a former member of Det. A. l
peterctate
PETER TATE 2
Wolfgang, you are entirely correct. Tegel is now, by far, the busier of the 2 main Berlin airports. And yet still amazingly user-friendly! It will be a shame when they close it in a year or two, and move to the new Berlin Brandenburg "Willy Brandt" Airport next to Schonefeld. At a projected 27 million passengers per year, it will be bigger than all the others combined. I cannot imagine it will be user friendly, but perhaps legendary German ingenuity will find a way. Good luck to you, Berliners, with your new Brandenburg airport...we are all waiting to see your new design! We hope it will be like a schöne deutsche Mädchen (a beautiful German girl)!
wopri
Some additional info: During WWII, Tempelhof was used to assemble Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters.

Just outside the main entrance is the monument to the Berlin Airlift of 1948/49, but I was disappointed by the rundown state of the little park around it when I was last there in 2010. I've never seen so much trash flying around anywhere else in Germany, it looked like it was used as an illegal dumpsite. I hope this was just a temporary thing and that by now it has been cleaned up.
WigzellRM
Ralph Wigzell 1
Is that a Nord 262 in one of the pictures?
rolff78
jamie costanzo 1
Here's a good video that showcases this airport. Pretty cool place. https://vimeo.com/88765672
alefdog
Peter Meyer 1
Thanks for the pictures and story. My wife and I lived in Berlin in 1985-86. My wife worked with the USAF at Tempelhof, so we spent a lot of time there. I haven't been back to Berlin in 30 years and look forward to see the city and it's airport again.
peterctate
PETER TATE 1
Kyle, great reporting job! My wife and I were in Berlin last October for a week. While most international arrivals now go thru Schonefeld Flughafen (SXF) outside the city, you can still land inside city limits at Tegel Flughafen (TXL) if you arrive from a regional airport from most EU cities. We found it to be a little gem of a place, simple, clean and easy. We will be back in Berlin last 10 days of June, and plan to follow your history trail
to Templehof. Had no idea it was accessible..amazing! By the way, if you get a chance, try a side trip to Potsdam, 30mins outside town...simply oozing with this type of history.
wopri
I agree that TXL is a very easy airport Peter, probably at least in part due to the fact that they don't have a centralized security screening. They have a small screening installation for about three gates, and it is extremely fast, and the staff has been very friendly and polite overtime I've passed through TXL. (Last on May 12, 2015) But I don't understand how you arrive at the conclusion that most international arrivals now go through Schönefeld. The number of passengers are under 7 million for Schönefeld and falling, 20,6 million and rising for Tegel.

I was not able to get comparable numbers for the two airports as far as international departures are concerned, but a quick comparison of destinations on wikipedia seems to favour TXL.

Schönefeld
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Schönefeld_Airport

Tegel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Tegel_Airport
swflyer
swflyer 1
I Commanded The U.S. Army Aviation Detachment at Templehoff for a little less than two years departing for the U.S. in late 1980. Great unit, excellent people, military and civilians. Living in West Berlin was great, Templehof was fascinating and the Detachment's mission was unique. The civilian staff at Templehiof gave private exceptional deep tours of the facility with great history.
foxyed23
Edwin Peckens 0
Arrived Nov 63 on Pan Am DC6. Final approach down between apartment buildings.
Stayed at Berlin Hilton. Was there when JFK was assassinated.Watched funeral on
German TV. Military went on alert and closed all checkpoints. Lasted until they
decided Russia wasn't starting WW3.

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