Berlin Tempelhof Airport

Berlin Tempelhof Airport

The Berlin Tempelhof Airport was planned by the architect Ernst Sagebiel and built from 1937 until 1941. At the time of its completion, it was thought to be the worlds second largest building.

Tempelhof was often called the “City Airport”. In its later years, it mostly had commuter flights to other parts of Germany and neighboring countries. It had in the past received long-haul, wide-bodied airliners, such as the Boeing 747, the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar and the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy.

Tempelhof Airport closed all operations on 30 October 2008, despite the efforts of some protesters to prevent the closure. It was replaced by Tegel Airport.

Berlin Airlift

In June 1948 the Soviet Union made an attempt to take control of the whole of Berlin by cutting off surface rail and street access to and from the western part of the city. If successful this action would have resulted in effectively starving out over 2 million Berliners of food supplies. The US Truman administration’s reaction to the Blockade was to provide a daily airlift by the Allies to ensure that food and supplies continued to reach Berliners living in the western Sector. More than 5,000 tons of supplies were delivered daily. The “Airbridge” lasted until September 1949 when the Soviet government finally lifted the blockade. Popular stories about “raisin-bombers” and the ‘Chocolate Pilot’ are still told to children today.

Berliners watching a C-54 land at Tempelhof Airport (1948)

Berliners watching a C-54 land at Tempelhof Airport (1948)

For many Berliners, especially the older generation, Tempelhof remains a symbol of freedom and belongs to Berlin as much as the Brandenburg Gate. Even Germany’s conservative Chancellor, Angela Merkel, pointed out that “to many people and me personally this airport with the Airlift Memorial is a symbol of the city’s history”.

Tempelhof also has a significant place in aviation history. Flights have been taking off from here since the early 20th century. Aviation pioneer Orville Wright gave a flight demonstration here in 1909. Its history as a commercial airport dates back to 1923 with Lufthansa located headquarters here since 1926.

Address: Platz der Luftbrücke, 12101  Berlin

Berlin Airlift History
Berliner Unterwelten