Tegel profitable until the end

The pandemic has hammered air travel around the world. Tegel just barely remained in the black in its final year as a Flughafen.

Some people are probably still waiting for their checked luggage at Tegel, where waning investment meant aging infrastructure.
Some people are probably still waiting for their checked luggage at Tegel, where waning investment meant aging infrastructure.dpa

Berlin-Tegel airport posted a profit last year, remaining aloft in its final year despite flying in an industry descending deep in the red. 

The city's favourite (and only) hexagonal airport netted €9.3m in 2020, according to the annual report of operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB). Still, the figure is just a fraction of the €130.9m it pulled in in 2019.

The falling profit came as traffic collapsed 76 per cent last year to just 5.9m passengers, compared with 24.2m in 2019, as corona all-but halted travel.  

Lack of investment

The now-defunct airport was able to make it into the black thanks to rental income paid by airlines and shop operators within the airport, which saw its last commercial flight 8 November. At the same time, FBB has been dialing back investment in the aiport for nearly two decades after it became clear Germany's capital would get a new Flughafen.

The lack of investment in Tegel didn't go unnoticed. In a 2019 survey, passengers gave the airport a 3.4 on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the best. By comparison, BER ranked a 1.9 in a similar survey in its first months. 

Tegel's profit stands in stark contrast to the €1.1b FBB lost last year, both because of corona and because of the unexpectedly high costs of BER, which opened 31 October. 

5,000 flats

Tegel officially stopped being an airport in early May and the site will be sold 8 Augusgt to a different state-run operation: Tegel Projekt GmbH. The transfer includes moving two-thirds of the site into the hands of the city-state of Berlin, for which our fair city will have to pay €274.5m, the amount of a recent appraisal, according to tabloid BZ.

"Development of the post-use projects can begin," Tegel Projekt spokesperson Constanze Döll said.

The former terminals will become the Urban Tech Republic, home to university and various institutes and startups. About 5,000 apartments will also be built on the site, which has been dubbed the Schumacher Quarter.

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