Photo Gallery Final Call for Airlift Airport

Berliners are making a last-ditch effort to save one of the most famous airports in the world. In an April referendum, voters will say whether they want to save what architect Norman fostter called the "mother of all airports."
1 / 17

Tempelhof airport is slated to close this year, but some Berliners are launching an effort to save it. A citywide voter referendum on April 27 could decide its fate.

Foto: AP
2 / 17

The airport's departure lounge on a weekday at lunchtime in 2006. Once the busiest airport in Europe, today Tempelhof handles just a trickle of flights -- most are short haul trips from small German cities, or from Brussels and Copenhagen.

Foto: David Crossland
3 / 17

Some of the airlines that still use the airport fought to keep it open in court, but their case was rejected last year. Tempelhof is slated to close this year. Advocates who want to keep it open say the constant threat of closure explains the amount of vacant space in the enormous building.

Foto: David Crossland
4 / 17

The airport is notable both for its role in the Berlin Airlift and as an example of Hitler's architectural ambitions. There are still a few remnants of the grandiose plans for Hitler's favorite airport. The present building, designed by the architect Ernst Sagebiel, was to impress visitors to Germania, the planned capital of the victorious Reich.

Foto: David Crossland
5 / 17

The terminal's original entrance hall was three stories high. In the 1960s a floor was put in to bring it down to a more human scale. But it is possible to visit the imposing hall upstairs. This hall is only half of the height of the original.

Foto: David Crossland
6 / 17

Much of the original plaster was taken away by the US military to help restore other parts of the building after they took it over in July 1945. The airport is now a protected monument.

Foto: David Crossland
7 / 17

Tempelhof is designed as a semi-oval with 14 towers. The roof was originally intended to be used as a viewing platform for the audience at big Nazi events, such as Hitler's birthday. The airport was only completed during World War II and was used as a giant aircraft factory.

Foto: DPA
8 / 17

The airfield's history and its significance predates even Nazi rule. This 1928 picture shows Lufthansa transit buses ferrying passengers from the airport into the city center, six kilometers to the north.

Foto: AP
9 / 17

Check-in queues at the Lufthansa counter in the original terminal in Tempelhof Airport.

Foto: AP
10 / 17

The first departure lounge at Tempelhof in 1926.

Foto: AP
11 / 17

The airport terminal opened in 1923, but had been used for aviation since 1903. In August 1909 the first Zeppelin landed in the capital. This photo was taken in 1928.

Foto: AP
12 / 17

The old airport terminal building. The Berliner Flughafen GmbH (Berlin Aiports) was founded a few months after Tempelhof airport opened in 1923, with the aim of developing the airfield. At the time Berlin's airport was busier than London or Paris.

Foto: AP
13 / 17

The Berlin Airlift: West Berliners wave at the US transport planes that brought supplies to the enclave within Soviet-controlled Eastern Germany. Between June 1948 and May 1949 the "Raisin Bombers" provided the West Berliners with a lifeline and made Tempelhof famous throughout the world.

Foto: DPA
14 / 17

A view of Tempelhof during the Berlin Airlift in July 1948. At the height of the blockade, a plane was landing in Berlin every minute.

Foto: AP
15 / 17

A "Follow Me" vehicle guides planes to the aircraft hangars, from which the passengers descend into the airport. Tempelhof has about 300,000 passengers a year on around 40,000 flights -- that's compared to the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI), built to handle 20-25 million passengers.

Foto: DDP
16 / 17

Tempelhof was the gateway for many famous visitors to Berlin. Former US President Ronald Reagan arrived at the airport on June 11, 1982.

Foto: AP
17 / 17

Tempelhof airport is set to close in the name of moving all traffic to BBI, but some argue a city airport is invaluable. The matter will be put to a citywide referendum on April 27.

Foto: DPA
Die Wiedergabe wurde unterbrochen.
Speichern Sie Ihre Lieblingsartikel in der persönlichen Merkliste, um sie später zu lesen und einfach wiederzufinden.
Jetzt anmelden
Sie haben noch kein SPIEGEL-Konto? Jetzt registrieren
Mehrfachnutzung erkannt
Bitte beachten Sie: Die zeitgleiche Nutzung von SPIEGEL+-Inhalten ist auf ein Gerät beschränkt. Wir behalten uns vor, die Mehrfachnutzung zukünftig technisch zu unterbinden.
Sie möchten SPIEGEL+ auf mehreren Geräten zeitgleich nutzen? Zu unseren Angeboten