MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Air France (AF) operated the last ever commercial departure from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) in 2020.

Flight AF1235, operated by an Airbus A320 (F-GKXP), departed at 15:39 local time bound for Paris (CDG). Fittingly, AF had been the first airline to operate into TXL on January 1, 1960.

TXL dates back to 1948 when the existing airfield was upgraded in just 90 days to support the Berlin Airlift. Previously, nearby Tempelhof (THF) had been the cities main airport. However, THF had short runways that were unable to cope when the new generation of jet aircraft arrived in the 1960s.

Lufthansa (LH) bid its own farewell to TXL by operating one of its flagship Airbus A350s on its final departure to Munich (MUC). (Photo: Lufthansa)

Icon of a Once Divided City


This led to the expansion of TXL. Its parallel runways were lengthened to accept fully laden wide-bodied airlines. Then in 1974, its iconic hexagonal terminal building opened its doors. A year later on September 1, 1975, both Pan Am (PA) and British Airways (BA) moved their entire West German operations from THF to TXL.

In 1988, the facility was renamed Berlin Tegel ‘Otto Lilienthal’ after the German aviation pioneer. TXL grew to become Germany’s fourth-largest airport. Designed to handle 2.5 million passengers per year, by 2019, the airport was seeing 24 million pass through its doors.

A view of Tegel’s iconic hexagonal terminal building as seen from the air. (Photo: Christian Winter/Airways)

Berlin Brandenburg Airport


Plans for a new airport to replace TLX, THF and Schönefeld (SXF) date back to the early 1990s. The outcome was Brandenburg (BER), which had been set to open in October 2011.

Nine years behind schedule, BER finally welcomed its first flight on October 31, 2020. Days later, all passenger flights had been transferred across from TXL, signaling the end of over 70 years of aviation on the site.


Featured image: Control Tower of the Berlin Tegel Airport before becoming Terminal 2 of BER, Photo: Hans Knips, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons