Berlin Tempelhof closure delayed

 - December 18, 2007, 6:42 AM

A German federal court has granted Berlin Tempelhof Airport a reprieve from closure. The historic, downtown facility had been facing closure on October 30, but it will now be allowed to remain open at least until the future of the proposed new Brandenburg International Airport has been settled. As a result, Tempelhof could remain open at least until 2006, and maybe until 2010 or beyond as planning for the Brandenburg development on the site of the existing Schoenefeld Airport has itself become bogged down in protests and debate.

In September the German court ruled that Berlin city officials had acted illegally when they ordered the closure of Tempelhof at the end of the summer airline schedule. The court supported an appeal made by airlines using the downtown airport and TAG Aviation, which operates an FBO there. The airport receives scheduled airline operations from carriers such as Cirrus Aviation and SN Brussels Airlines, and the TAG FBO currently handles about 7,300 movements per year.

The appellants had challenged the claims by Berlin city authorities and the Berlin Airport Authority that Tempelhof incurs an annual loss of approximately $20 million (A17 million). According to TAG Aviation’s Berlin manager, Sebastian Pingel, the airport authority has contrived for Tempelhof to incur a loss by refusing to lease the airport buildings on viable commercial terms.

Tempelhof is located at the heart of the German capital and is only about a 10-minute drive to major locations such as the parliament and government buildings.