Berlin’s Tegel airport closes following last flight to Paris

Berlin's beloved Cold War-era Tegel airport finally closed its doors Sunday after a last flight took off, one week after a much-delayed replacement hub opened on the other side of the German capital.

Berlin's Tegel airport closes following last flight to Paris
Taxis at Berlin Tegel airport. Photo: DPA

Air France flight AF1235 to Paris was the very last plane to leave Tegel on
Sunday afternoon, AFP photographers saw.

“I'll say it quite clearly: it's a day when the hearts of many people are bleeding,” Berlin mayor Michael Müller told news agency DPA.

“For us Berliners, Tegel was the gateway to the world” during the long Cold War decades when West Berlin was a democratic exclave inside the communist German Democratic Republic, surrounded by the Berlin Wall.

READ ALSO: Berlin's Tegel airport to close Sunday: Five facts you need to know

A hand-picked group of passengers were aboard Tegel's last departure, which
took place as most of the world's aircraft remain grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of people had gathered on Saturday to watch the last publicly
accessible flights leave.

Berlin's new BER airport opened southeast of the capital last week after nine years of delay, and special flights by Lufthansa and Easyjet landed without a hitch.

Air France was the first airline to operate a regular service to Tegel from 1960, when it stood in the divided city's French-controlled sector.

Originally built to handle 2.5 million passengers a year, Tegel passed 20 million in 2014 and developed a reputation in recent years for crowding, delays and lost baggage.

It remained in operation throughout the delays to BER in a nine-year-long reprieve to its original closing date.

The former airport is set to host a whole new district, with homes for 10,000 people along with shops, schools and other facilities.

Its hexagonal terminal — now a protected historic monument — will become
an urban development centre run by the Beuth University of Applied Sciences.

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Oslo Airport sees uptick in arrivals ahead of new Covid-19 quarantine rules

Oslo's Gardermoen airport, the largest in Norway, has seen passengers move their trips forward to avoid incoming tightening of Covid-19 entry quarantine rules.

Oslo Airport sees uptick in arrivals ahead of new Covid-19 quarantine rules
AFP PHOTO / Hakon Mosvold Larsen (Photo by Hakon Mosvold Larsen / SCANPIX NORWAY / AFP)

The municipal director who is responsible for the quarantine hotels in Ullensaker, where the airport is located, confirmed the trend to newspaper VG.

“We had a relatively tough weekend, because we believe that those who have become aware that they would be put into quarantine hotels have now arrived much earlier, at the beginning of the Easter holidays,” municipal director Gunhild Grimstad-Kirkeby told VG.

New quarantine hotel rules come into effect from Monday, meaning that anybody arriving in Norway on trips that aren’t considered necessary foreign travel will have to check into quarantine hotels. The rules will tighten further on April 1st.

The earliest opportunity to leave the quarantine hotel would be 7 days after arriving and only if you return a negative test. Previously, Norwegian citizens and residents were allowed to quarantine at home.

The latest government information on rules relating to coronavirus quarantine hotels can be found in English here.


Ullensaker has opened an additional quarantine hotel to help it cope with demand. Grimstad-Kirkeby estimated that there are 1,000-2,000 people currently in quarantine hotels around Oslo Airport Gardermoen.

“It was high pressure on Friday, a little less on Saturday and a little less on Sunday. If I am to assume based on the forecasts I have received there will be a decline in arrivals on Monday (when the new rules come into place),” she said.

Travelers at the hotels must pay a 500 kroner per-day subsidy for adults and 250 kroner per-day subsidy for children aged between 10-18.

On April 1st those arriving in Norway must also provide a negative PCR test that has been taken within 24 hours of their departure flight. Once in Norway, they must take a rapid coronavirus test at the airport or border and wait at the test station until the result is returned. If they are travelling for non-essential reasons, they will be required to quarantine regardless of test results.

Foreign nationals who are unable to meet the requirements will be denied entry and Norwegian citizens and residents will receive fines, Justice Minister, Monica Mæland, told VG. Mæland also said there has been a slight increase in travel activity this Easter.

“We meet this (increased travel) with stricter rules. Some disagree and some still travel, we must have a system in place to ensure that we do not get increased infection rates after Easter,” she said.

“The police will decide the size of the fine in each individual case, and there can be imprisonment for up to six months. We have seen examples of some quite hefty fines already. We will do everything we can to prevent import infection,” she said in regard to the potential punishments for those who break the new rules.