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The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF

Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:04 am

Whilst everyone in Germany is talking about the delay in opening BER these days, I thought it would be good to remember a more successful Berlin airport by posting my first TR in this forum. Despite closed in 2008, Tempelhof still holds a special place in the European aviation history, mainly thanks to its role during the Berlin blockade in 1948/9.

So back in 2008, just weeks before the closure of Tempelhof, I was keen to experience this historic place at least once during live operation. Flight options were limited, so I ended up with the following routing for a weekend trip in August - 2 days, 3 cities, 4 airlines and 6 airports:


THF%25202008.gif" border="0"/>
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

It was an early start on Saturday morning to get to HHN for the flight to Berlin, upon arrival at the airport it was still pitch-black:

This had changed after boarding started and we crossed the apron, walking past a number of Ryanair aircraft waiting to spread out over Europe:

Ryanair flight FR 5492 from Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN) to Berlin-Schoenefeld (SXF)
Date: 02aug08
STD: 06:25 local
STA: 07:20 local
Equipment: 738
Personal flight #95
Seat 8A

After a short flight we touched down at SXF, a quick view of the old-style terminal building whilst taxiing:

We then took the train across the city to the former “Zentralflughafen Berlin-Tempelhof”:

In light of the massive size of the airport building, any sign is welcome:

You can easily tell that the airport has seen better days:

Impressions from the main hall:

Queues at the check-in? Hardly…

“This station is not manned after August 1st, 2008”… car rental providers moved out early

A view from outside, last signs of the (fruitless) protest against the Tempelhof closure: “Berlin has something other cities don't have. Tempelhof”

Glory days, long gone.. remembering the Berlin blockade after WWII:

Then it was time to return to the building to go through security (the only time at an airport that I have seen more security personnel than pax). Empty seats there as well…

A glimpse of the apron, a DC-3 waiting for pax to start a sightseeing flight. This airliner crashed in 2010 near the new Berlin airport:

ACT_D-ECMZ_OO-DJX.jpg" border="0"/>

With the arrival of 00-DXJ we realized our time at THF had come to an end:

Brussels Airlines flight SN 2582 from Berlin-Tempelhof (THF) to Brussels-Zaventem (BRU)
Date: 02aug08
STD: 11:40 local
STA: 13:00 local
Equipment: AR8
Personal flight #96
Seat 14F

This however was also the most exciting part as we walked outside and under the massive roof to board the plane:

The famous sign, seen whilst taxiing out:

To live here happily, you must be a hard core aviation enthusiast:

Aerial view during climb out. Sir Norman Foster called Tempelhof the “mother of all airports”, given the building was constructed in the 1930s there is some truth in this statement.

Different picture in BRU, the shiny new airport shopping world welcomes you:

Some traffic pictures from BRU:

Two guests parked at the other end of the airport, Vladivostok Avia from Russia and Congolese Hewa Bora Airways:

A sign of the past: OO-DJG remembering the Sabena heritage whilst OODJL shows the new SN livery already:

Built in 1985, this A310 had almost a dozen different owners, from Swissair to Oman Air to Lion Air etc, until being stored at BRU for a number of years:

It was then time for:

easyJet flight EZY 4704 from Brussels-Zaventem (BRU) to Berlin-Schoenefeld (SXF)
Date: 02aug08
STD: 16:15 local
STA: 17:25 local
Equipment: 319
Personal flight #97
Seat 23A

We spent the evening in Berlin and went to Checkpoint Charley the next day, which also has some aviation history on display: the wing of a light aircraft (D-EDDG) which was used in 1982 to make an escape across the iron curtain:

At the end of a memorable weekend, we headed to the 3rd Berlin airport, Berlin-Tegel “Otto Lilienthal” to catch the return flight to EDDF:

Almost sarcasm… „this city has 3 exits. They are marked with the word ‘airport’”

Air Berlin flight AB 6559 from Berlin-Tegel (TXL) to Frankfurt Rhein-Main (FRA)
Date: 03aug08
STD: 17:35 local
STA: 18:40 local
Equipment: 738
Personal flight #98
Seat 1F

A F-100 landing on RWY 26R whilst we head from from 26L

Arrival at FRA, parking next to another AB 738:

I hope you enjoyed this TR, thoughts and comments welcome.
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Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:22 am

RE: The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:32 am

Hi zolagola,

great little report and welcome to this forum. A nice blast from the past, and well done to include all three Berlin airports in one trip. Tempelhof was indeed a special airport, so sad that it is now closed. I never had the chance to fly there, but at least I managed to visit the park last year. The buildings at THF are really impressive, must have been an interesting experience to board a plane under that roof.

Thanks a lot for sharing
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RE: The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:24 am

Hi Zolagola

Thanks for the great report. That certainly brought back some fond memories of when I used to fly from Basel to Tempelhof with Crossair's Saab 2000. It all seems so very long ago.

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RE: The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF

Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:49 pm

Thank you both for your comments, I reckon it will take quite some time until the new BER will be remembered in such fondness:

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Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:47 pm

RE: The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:40 am

Excellent Report! Thanks for reminding me of a dear old friend  
Posts: 451
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 10:42 am

RE: The True Berlin Airport - Last Trip To THF

Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:10 pm

Aah THF what do I miss the times I could fly into central berlin with SN and just take a bus to the city centre..
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