LONDON – Berlin Tegel Airport is set to close on June 15 for around two months due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Due to restrictions with regards to flying, passenger numbers have declined to the point that this decision was inevitably made.
It is understood that this move will save airport operator FBB around US$220,000 per day, amounting to US$12.3m over that eight week period.
FBB CEO Lutke Dalrup stated that this move was to see how many airports the German capital needs as well as closing the airport to ensure recovery of the industry.
“In the next few months we will see if the capital region needs one or two airports. Now it is about taking the next steps responsibly. Our next job is to ensure the recovery of the air industry and not hinder it.”
All traffic that is scheduled to fly into Tegel will fly into its neighbouring airport of Schonefeld.
Could Tegel Be Closed Permanently?
2019 saw Tegel handle 24 million passengers, whereas nowadays only 2,000 passengers per day have been using the facilities of the airport.
FBB has not ruled out a permanent closure of Tegel, especially with the new Brandenburg Airport due to open on October 31 this year.
It is unclear how many jobs will be affected by this decision, but there could be opportunities on the horizon given the future for Berlin’s airports.
Daldrup was keen to add that he is more than happy to reopen Tegel Airport if demand permits it.
“Personally I would prefer to keep Tegel open until the autumn. If I get 50,000 passengers, Tegel will be put straight back into business. But I’m honestly not optimistic that we are going to see those numbers in the next few months.”
It is understood that the airport will be placed on standby during such a closure in case demand in the Summer rises exponentially and Schonefeld gets overwhelmed.
Even then, local media such as The Local are suggesting that because of Brandenburg opening up this year, “Tegel’s last chapter could well have now been written”.
It will be interesting to see what decisions are to be made by FBB after the two-month closure, which is around August 11 and whether indeed the airport’s 114-year history will come to a sad end.