Every day, thousands of people are landing at Berlins airports or departing from here to their holiday destination. Today, we will tell you something about past, current and future airports of Berlin.
The past: Tempelhof Airport
You’ll find loads of bikers, skaters and BBQ fans there today but until 2008, there was a working airport at the Tempelhof field. The Tempelhof Airport opened in 1923 and was operated by the Americans after the Second World War. In August 1945, several passengers started from the “Tempelhof Central Airport” to the famous Conference of Potsdam.
In 2007, one year before the airport’s closure, about 350,000 guests were checked in at the Tempelhof Airport. Since 2010, the former airport is open to the public and became a popular destination for sports and fun. There are marked barbeque areas, where you can go and have a BBQ with your friends and there is plenty of space to fly a kite, ride a bike or skate. Also, there is a big urban gardening project at the field, where Berliners plant their own herbs and flowers. The city of Berlin is currently planning the future use of the former airport grounds. The city plans for instance the construction of new residential areas at the border of the park and aims to use the rest (about 220 hectares) as a park, forest and for leisure activities.
If you want to discover the former airport building, you can join one of the guided tours . There is, for instance, a tour discovering the “hidden places” of the airport or a photo tour where you can take your own, cool pictures. From our hostel, you get to the airport quickly by S- or U-Bahn (Underground) within 20 minutes. However, we recommend you to take a bicycle along because of the park’s size.
The present: Tegel Airport (TXL) and Schönefeld Airport (SXL)
If you flew to Berlin during the last years, you will probably know at least one of these two airports. But what’s the difference between the both of them?
Tegel Airport is north of Berlin and a bit closer to Berlin’s inner city than Schönefeld Airport. TXL was used as a drill ground of the German air force during the Second World War and was filled with bomb craters after the war. Still, there are a few rests of munitions in the ground of the airport. In spring 1968, all of the long-haul charter flights were moved from Tempelhof airport to Tegel Airport, because Tempelhof was exhausted and couldn’t deal with all the passengers anymore. Now, Tegel is Berlin’s biggest airport with around 18.16 million passengers checking in in 2012 alone.
From Tegel airport, you reach our hostel in about 45 minutes by public transport. Just take the bus “TXL” to Alexanderplatz – from there it’s only a few stops by S-train to our hostel. If you prefer a more comfy option, you can also take a taxi from the airport (Link to article “taxi in Berlin),
Berlin’s second international airport, Schönefeld Airport (SXL), is situated south of Berlin and especially deals with low cost airlines. From the 60s until the fall of the Berlin wall, Schönefeld Airport offered many flights to Eastern European cities, like Budapest or Prague. This made the airport really attractive, especially for West-Berliners. Until 2003, long-haul charters dominated the airport but since then, more and more cheap airlines came to Schönefeld. In 2005, the airport became the second largest easyJet base in Europe after London-Luton. In 2012, about 7.1 million guests check in at SXL, which shows that it is much smaller than Tegel. From our hostel, you easily reach Schönefeld by using the S-train: just change once at “Ostkreuz” and you’ll be there within 30 minutes.
The future: Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)
In the near future, the airports of Tegel and Schönefeld will be closed and replaced by one large airport: the BER, also called „Willy Brandt“. For the other two airports, the city is planning new residential areas and natural spaces. Since September 2006, a new airport is being built south of Schönefeld. The plan is to employ over 20,000 people at the airport and to build a huge market space inside the terminal. This new “airport city” will also get its own new train station for fast trains and Underground, connecting it to Berlin City.
Even though this all sounds great, the BER airport is Germany’s biggest construction site at the moment. Originally, the airport should have been opened already in June 2013. However, due to technical problems and planning mistakes, the date for the opening was delayed several times which is why the final opening date is not yet known. Hopefully, there will be a final announcement in October or November 2013.
If you want to get an idea of the future airport, you can already visit the infotower at the airportworld right on the construction site. From the top of the 32 meter high tower, you have a great overview over the site and you can also join one of the guided tours around the construction grounds. Once the airport will finally be ready to open, it will be well-connected to the inner city of Berlin and to our hostel.
When exactly that will be, we don’t know. Have a good flight :).
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.