Berlin Tempelhof Airport closed

Today is a very sad day - The oldest commercial airport in the world, Berlin Tempelhof (THF/EDDI), has been closed forever, solely because of political reasons. The airport, located in the heart of Germany’s capital, was opened in 1923. With 284,000 square meters of floor area, the airport’s main building was the largest building in the world, before it was beaten by the Pentagon building in 1934. Tempelhof is still the largest building in Europe and still belongs to one of the largest buildings in the world. It’s considered by most experts to be an architetctural masterpiece. British architect Norman Foster described Tempelhof as no less than “the mother of all airports.”

Tempelhof was one of Europe’s three iconic pre-war airports — the others being London’s old Croydon Airport and Paris Le Bourget. 1926 Lufthansa was founded here.


The airport became famous during the Berlin Blockade (1948 – 1949) where it was used by Douglas DC-3s and Douglas C-54s for the Berlin Airlift which was formed by Western Allies to supply the city over pre-arranged air corridors.

Douglas DC-3s at Berlin Tempelhof Airport 1948

Tempelhof was often called the “City Airport”. It mostly had commuter flights to other parts of Germany and neighbouring countries, but had in the past received long-haul, wide-bodied airliners, such as the Boeing 747 operated by Pan Am.

The last 2 planes, a Junkers Ju-52 and a Douglas DC-3, departed Tempelhof at midnight.

After closing Tempelhof, one of the two remaining Berlin airports - Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) needs to replace it. To deal with the additional traffic and passengers, Tegel will be expanded for several Million Euro. But the death of Berlin Tegel Airport is also already a settled matter and hence the expansion a solely waste of money. The second remaining airport will be closed in 2012 after the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (formely Berlin Schönefeld (SXF)) will be completed.

There’s still no reasonable concept for using the airport site.

Photo gallery featuring many historic photos: Photo Gallery

Please also read the great story over at the english edition of spiegel.de: An Era Ends with Closing of Berlin Airport

5 Responses to “Berlin Tempelhof Airport closed”


  1. 1 Jens Rosenow Dec 16th, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Living in Berlin I can only express my disappointment about this silly and inconsiderately decision of the politics of ours. This town is going to be run down by only a few men…unbelievable. It took years of building TEMPELHOF, it just took one day to delete it from aerial maps. I am a pilot, Berlin citizen both and I hope that this topic will cost someones head.

  2. 2 Only Berlin Mar 3rd, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    It was a sad day indeed, I mean why close this airport down? Norman Foster was completely right, too.

  3. 3 lisa Jan 30th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I live in London but have had the enormous pleasure of landing and leaving Berlin from Tempelhof.
    I cannot tell you my despair at this amazing place closing and not allowing generations to come to witness such an architectural phenomenom. Indeed, a great loss to Berlin.

  4. 4 Des Pike Mar 10th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    A beautiful airport with a long association of all that is good about Berlin’s history.Closing it could be a big mistake.

  5. 5 Peter F. Aug 22nd, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I visited Tempelhof in the begining of August 2010.
    I took part to guided tour (3 h). It went far so quickly! :) Wounderfull place. You can hear the sounds of history everywhere.
    We have in Finnland Helsinki-Malmi airport (EFHF) that is from 30’s. This airfield is used by flying schools, frontier quard etc. Very often we see also plains from Deutschland!
    Herzlich willkommen!