Historic Templehof's Loyal
You can tell if an airport is
dying by checking its unexpected heart, the lost and found.
Tempelhof's is empty. The airport stands in a unique position of
being more than 70 years old and still in use. That legacy ends
in June 2008 when the airport will see its last flight before
becoming a convention center or movie studio or one of dozens of
other ideas that have not left the tarmac.
“That's not really a realistic
way to use this building,” said Andreas Peter, chairman of ICAT,
a group that has been fighting to save Tempelhof since plans for
its closure were first mulled over in 1995.
The grounds around the airport
are the real reason for its closure, Peter said. As Berlin
continues its rapid growth after reunification, he believes the
city wants to sell some of the land for townhouses.
The gigantic terminal building
with its echoing hall is a U.N. World Heritage site and will not
be torn down. Peter had hoped that Tempelhof could become a
general aviation destination, with pilots’ schools and smaller
groups housed right in the terminal's ample office space. Peter
and his supporters even had hopes for regional carriers, like
the ones he runs for a living, to carry on out of the way of
international traffic at Tempelhof's unique terminal.
“It's still considered a modern
concept,” he said, “because from check-in to boarding you take
about 10-15 minutes.”