Berlin Tegel Airport
Berlin's Tegel Airport is the city's main international airport. Named after its founder, Otto Lilienthal, it is currently the fourth busiest airport in Germany. It is also the site of an attempt by Palestinian terrorists to hijack it in 1970 and 1986. The airport is well-connected to the rest of the city, and is often used by tourists.
Air France operated from berlin tegel airport
Air France began flying to and from Berlin Tegel Airport on January 2, 1960. The first flight took off on that day, and was operated by the Lockheed Super Constellation, the first commercial jet aircraft. By the time this aircraft left, the airport was already far removed from the city center, but a new motorway link solved the problem.
On this day, Air France was the only airline flying jet aircraft from Berlin Tegel airport. The plane had 174 seats, and was configured as all-economy. However, the airline blocked the middle seat for the business class passengers in the front section of the aircraft. As a result, Air France has a long history in Berlin.
During World War II, Berlin Tegel Airport was created as a temporary airfield because the resources of the main Tempelhof airport were exhausted. It was built in the French sector of the city. The runway was only 2.5 km long, and it was never intended to be a permanent civilian airport.
The Berlin Airlift operation used Tegel as a key hub. It broke the Soviet blockade by 1949 and demonstrated that the West was willing to stand with West Germany. However, the airport's facilities were soon taxed by the influx of traffic after German reunification. The runways were not long enough to accommodate the huge jumbo jets. As a result, travelers had to change planes in Frankfurt or other hubs.
Air France was one of the first airlines to use the main terminal at Tegel. The airline began operating flights to Paris from the airport in 1988, and the airline was the first airline to operate regular scheduled Airbus A320 flights between Tegel and Paris. The hexagonal terminal was designed by Meinhard von Gerkan, who also designed the troubled new Brandenburg airport. It was built to accommodate short-haul flights.
In the early 1990s, Lufthansa resumed flights from Berlin Tegel airport. Their flights consisted of twelve pairs of flights each day. However, these flights were limited to a handful of destinations, including Cologne, Frankfurt, and London Gatwick. On 29 July 1991, Lufthansa acquired Pan Am's internal German services division for $150 million. This included the airline's Tegel gates and slots.
Pan Am Express operated from berlin tegel airport
When Pan Am took over Ransome Airlines in 1986, it began operating flights from Berlin Tegel Airport. The airline, which had been flying from Berlin Templehof since 1965, concentrated its operations at the West Berlin airport and expanded to serve more European destinations. Its fleet was composed of Dash 7 and ATR 42s.
Pan Am's service to Berlin began in 1954, when they formed the Internal German Service (IGS). The company had thousands of employees and a large number of U.S. pilots based at the city. Flights began on DC-4s and DC-6s, and eventually moved to all-jet aircraft. By the end of the decade, Pan Am operated a Boeing 727-200 and an ATR-42 Turboprop out of Berlin Tegel.
While the airport was initially thought of as a modern facility, it gradually became cramped and outmoded. It also had poor public transport links. For example, there was no direct connection to the U-Bahn metro system. To get there, passengers had to change buses at Kurt-Schumacher-Platz. Although it does not have a direct rail connection, the airport is accessible by bus and by motorway. There was a plan to build an underground station to serve the airport since the 1960s, but it was never built. However, there is a nearby Alt-Tegel U-Bahn station that serves the Tegel quarter of Berlin.
During World War II, Berlin Tegel Airport served as the main airport for West Berlin. It replaced Berlin Tempelhof, which was used by American Air Forces until the unification of Germany. After the Berlin Airlift, American Overseas Airlines also commenced flights from Berlin Tegel Airport.
During the early post-reunification years, Air Berlin was a US registered airline, but elected to reconstitute as a German company. After reunification, the airline merged with the German LTU, and became the second largest airline in Germany and seventh largest in Europe.
Pan Am Express was the target on an attempt by Palestinian terrorists to hijack it in 1970
A 1970 hijack attempt by Palestinian terrorists on Pan Am Flight 73 in Berlin failed, but not without a major tragedy. The plane, carrying over 400 passengers and crew, was hijacked by terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The hijackers demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. The hijackers were armed with explosive belts, grenades and AK-47s. They had the intention of taking the plane to Cyprus or Israel, and to kill the western passengers.
The hijackers forced flight attendants to hide American passports and other documents from passengers. In an attempt to kill American passengers, the hijackers shot an American citizen and threatened to kill another every ten minutes. The hijackers then shut off the plane's power and opened fire on passengers and crew with automatic weapons. They also threw hand grenades into the crowd.
The plane that was hijacked was a Boeing 707 that originally belonged to the Israeli national airline El Al. It was decorated with Lufthansa markings in 1986. The aircraft was later decorated in Lufthansa colors, and no German carriers were allowed to fly into Tegel airport.
The hijackers did not kill all the crew members on board the aircraft, but several others were killed in the attack. The crew of the flight included Oldrich Dolezal, Josef Klesnil, and Mecislav Kozak. The passengers aboard the flight were reunited by a rescue ship a week after the attempt.
After a failed attempt by Palestinian terrorists to hijack the Pan Am Express, another plane was hijacked. This time it was a Soviet Yak-3 aircraft. The pilot of the aircraft mistook the aircraft for a B-25 Mitchell, which strayed over a restricted area near Shanghai. Despite the lack of success by the hijackers, the airliner was ultimately able to land safely in Tainan, Taiwan.
An attempt by Palestinian terrorists to hijack it in 1986
In 1986, Palestinian terrorists tried to hijack five planes heading to the United States from Berlin Tegel Airport. The hijackers demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Three of the planes were forced to land in Jordan, while the fourth was flown to Cairo and bombed after its passengers disembarked.
The Boeing 707 that was used in the hijack attempt is still standing in an unreachable corner of the former airport. It is still painted in the Lufthansa colors. There is a museum dedicated to the plane and its past. Until recently, this plane had a colourful history.
During the Cold War, Berlin Tegel Airport held special Cold War status as the main airfield of East Germany. It was intended to be temporary, as West Berlin was then under the control of the Allied Forces. It was hoped that the airport would eventually become allotments, but Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had other plans.
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