2 OCTOBER 2017
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The saga of a new airport for Berlin took a new turn last week after citizens voted in a referendum to retain the existing Tegel facility after the new and much-delayed Berlin Brandenburg complex opens, an event now not expected until next year.
In the referendum, which is non-binding, 56.1% voted to keep Tegel, while 41.7% voted for it to close. It is a problem for the Berlin government, which wants to see the outdated buildings shut and turned into a business park.
Tegel was built in 1948 to support the Berlin Airlift, as the city’s existing Tempelhof airport was too small. Tempelhof was closed in 2008 in anticipation of the Brandenburg project opening.
Tegel was expected to close once the new facility, to be named for former German chancellor Willy Brandt, opened, but public opposition to the idea led to Sunday’s vote.
Berlin Brandenburg was originally scheduled to open in 2011 after building started in 2006, but construction problems have delayed it several times, with no new date set for its opening.
Schönefeld airport, next to Brandenburg, was also slated for closure, but the growth in air traffic means it also will stay open, at least for a while.
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