Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Short Discussion over Berlin Airports

Around ten years ago, the general plan in Berlin was that with Tempelhof shut down....both Tegel and Schonefeld would be shut down shortly after BER (the new airport was completed and operational).  As of today.....BER is still non-operational and it could be 2018....maybe 2019....before it opens.

Today, I noticed in RBB coverage (the Berlin local public network) that a large petition is making its way around.  Folks in Berlin want Tegal to remain open....even if BER opens. Tegal was discussed over a year ago in talks to dismantle the whole airport and use for public projects.  Now?

Part of this problem is that five years ago....it was realized that the size of the new BER would not be enough, and they already needed to start work on a renovation project to enlarge the uncompleted airport.  That's how screwed up the process has become.

Schonefeld?  It was discussed a year ago about keeping it open strictly for discount airlines and VIP flights flying into Berlin.

The local angle?  Part of this problem is the new city government (SPD-Green-Linke Party) and the general public frustration in that they might be 'stupid-enough' to shut down the two old airports and leave the city with a undersized BER instead....making air travel for Berlin a joke.

If you get the feeling that the airport business has become some political joke....well, that's the attitude among some folks when you talk about the last decade and BER planning.

Back in 1970....Berlin's population was 3.2 million.  Today, it's 3.6 million.  Tourism has become an enormous issue, with thousands arriving in Berlin by car, rail, or plane each week.

It's difficult to say that the Berlin political crowd had some futuristic understanding of the airport business or the goals necessary to project out a decade at a time.  When you look at Frankfurt....it's not owned or maintained by the city of Frankfurt or the state of Hessen.....it's a commercial operation.  If they do decide on expansion plans....like a runway or terminal....they have to ask permission of the state....but the airport has a lot to say over where they are going for the future.  You don't get that impression with Tegal, BER, or Schonefeld.

Oh, and to wrap up this discussion?  Well....the whole re-use plan of Tempelhof has been hotly contested by the public and the politicians.  Oddly, a lot of people have various ideas over how the open ground should be used, and nothing today can be said as 'concreted-down'.  The two 6,000 runways?  Yet to be taken down.  And with all the fairly negative effort around Goerlitzer Park....no one really trusts the city on having a four-star plan.

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