Berlins Historic Airport To Close

A German court approved plans to close Tempelhof Airport despite several airlines' efforts to block the shut down.

Tempelhof, which has been unprofitable, is scheduled to close on October 31, 2008. The three airlines using the airport will be required to reroute flights to Berlin's Schoenfeld airport beginning November 1, 2008.

The name Tempelhof is derived from the property's link to the medieval Knights Templar. In 1909, Frenchman Armand Zipfel made the first flight demonstration in Tempelhof, followed later in the year by American aviator Orville Wright. The airport was commissioned in 1923.

Tempelhof was turned over to the United States in 1945 following World War II. It was made famous during the Berlin Airlift of 1948, which responded to the Soviet Union closing all access to Berlin by land and water. As the airlift attempted to supply the city with needed commodities, a Combined Airlift Task Force was formed to facilitate command and control and coordinate safety and cooperation among the cargo aircraft of the US Navy, British Royal Air Force, and the US Air Force. At the time, engineers constructed a new runway and expanded the existing runway.

Though Boeing 727 and military C-5A Galaxy cargo aircraft were able to land at Tempelhof, the opening of Berlin-Tegel Airport in 1975 led major air carriers to switch operations from Tempelhof.

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