Berlin Tegel "Otto Lilienthal" Airport (German: Flughafen Berlin-Tegel „Otto Lilienthal“) (IATA: TXL, ICAO: EDDT) is the main international airport of Berlin, the federal capital of Germany. It formerly served West Berlin. The airport is named after Otto Lilienthal and is the fourth busiest airport in Germany, with 20.5 million passengers in 2017 and about 22 million in 2018. The airport is a hub for Eurowings (fomer Air Berlin ) as well as a base for EasyJet. It features flights to several European metropolitan and leisure destinations as well as some intercontinental routes. It is situated in Tegel, a section of the northern borough of Reinickendorf, 8 km northwest of the city centre of Berlin. Tegel Airport is notable for its hexagonal main terminal building around an open square, which makes walking distances as short as 30 m (98 ft) from the aircraft to the terminal exit.
In 1906, a hangar was built for testing of Groß-Basenach and Parseval type airships. Soon after the outbreak of World War I, on 20 August 1914, the area was dedicated to military training of aerial reconnaissance crews. During World War II, the area served once again as a military training area, mostly for Flak troops. It was destroyed in Allied air raids. After the WWII a plans for converting the area into allotment gardens were shelved due to the Berlin Blockade, which began on 24 June 1948. In the ensuing US-led Berlin Airlift, it quickly turned out that Berlin's existing main airport at Tempelhof was not big enough to accommodate all relief aircraft. As a consequence, the French military authorities in charge of Tegel at that time ordered the construction of a 2,428 m (7,966 ft) long runway, the longest in Europe at the time. Following the end of the Berlin Airlift in May 1949, Tegel became the Berlin base of the Armée de l'Air, eventually leading to the establishment of Base aérienne 165 at Berlin Tegel on 1 August 1964. (The end of the Cold War and German reunification resulted in the deactivation of the Western Allies' armed forces in Berlin in July 1994.)
Air France was the first airline to commence regular commercial operations at Tegel on 2 January 1960. Pan Am followed Air France into Tegel in May 1964, with a year-round, thrice-weekly direct service to New York JFK, which was operated with Boeing 707s or Douglas DC-8s. These aircraft could not operate from Tempelhof – the airline's West Berlin base at the time – with a viable payload. and later, Pan Am move from Tempelhof to Tegel all of Pan Am's Berlin operations. Finally British Airways was the last of West Berlin's three main scheduled carriers to commence regular operations from Tegel following the move from Tempelhof on 1 September 1975. However, like Pan Am, it and its predecessor BEA had used the airport as a diversion airfield before. Following Germany's reunification on 3 October 1990, all access restrictions to the former West Berlin airports were lifted.
The airport was scheduled to close in June 2012 after Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) opened, but due to ongoing delays with BER, the future of Tegel has long remained uncertain. A campaign was launched to keep Tegel Airport open, which gathered signatures for a referendum for voters to decide on the future of the airport. In September 2017, a public quorum was held parallel to the German federal election to decide whether Tegel Airport should remain open once Berlin Brandenburg Airport starts its operations. The majority of voters voted in favour of Tegel remaining open; however, the federal authorities and the state of Brandenburg, which together hold a majority against Berlin over the airport's ownership, already declined that wish shortly afterwards, so the shutdown of Tegel is still planned .
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