Berlin: Tegel Airport

The history from the beginnings until today
For historical information only, do not use for navigation or aviation purposes!
CoordinatesN523335 E0131716 (WGS84) Google Maps
Elevation 121 ft
Airfield IdBA165
Germany during the Cold War Map
The history of the Cold War airfields: Berlin Tegel


Tegel is a Berlin airport. A first predecessor was created at the beginning of the 20th century, when an airships division moved from the Tempelhofer Feld to a barracks on the southern edge of the Tegel shooting range. This use ended with the end of the First World War, because thereafter Germany was forbidden to maintain its own air force. The next flying activity followed in the 1930s, when the area was used for a time to test rockets. Finally the actual Tegel airport has been built in 1948 during the Berlin Airlift, in order to increase the airfield capacity in Berlin. After the Airlift, it served as a military airfield for the French armed forces, on which also a civil air transport took place. In 1974, the hexagonal terminal has been opened on the south side, and Tegel took over the entire air traffic of the free part of the city. After the reunification in 1990, Tegel developed into the most important airport of Berlin. Tegel is scheduled to be closed with the commissioning of the new airport BER.

During the Cold War

In the 1940s


Berlin Tegel airfield map from 1949 during Airlift
The newly built Tegel airfield on a US Air Force map from January 1949 - Various sources indicate that the airfield was opened with a runway of 2428 m in length. However, on the map it is only 1676 m (5500 ft). Even with the overruns, the length is only 2194 m (7200 ft). The surface is a symbolized as Pierced Steel Planking (PSP).

In the 1950s


Map airspace Berlin control zone 1956
The airspace with the Berlin Control Zone (BCZ) in 1956


In the meantime, the field has two runways.
Aerial picture of Berlin Tegel airport in 1953
Aerial picture from 1953
Aerial picture of Berlin Tegel airport with runways east in 1953
Eastern runway thresholds
Aerial picture of Berlin Tegel airport north side in 1953
Northern part with airfield buildings
Aerial picture of Berlin Tegel airport with runways west in 1953
Western runway thresholds

In the 1960s


Map of airspace Berlin in 1963
Airspace in 1963
Map of Berlin airfields in 1969
Berlin Tegel Airport on a US map from 1969 - (Source: Earth Sciences and Map Library, University of California, Berkeley)


  • 14 September 1961
    Two Luftwaffe F-84F Thunderstreaks of Fighter-Bomber Wing 32 (JaboG 32) get lost and land in Tegel.
  • 15 November 1966
    A Pan Am Boeing 727 crashes on the approach to Tegel. The aircraft hits the ground in the Döberitz training area (Soviet occupation zone).
  • 13 February 1967
    A Soviet pilot accidentally lands with a MiG-21 in Tegel, but can immediately depart again. Sources on the Internet suggest that the cause is to be found in similar frequencies of the radio beacon for Tegel and Cottbus. In fact, in the 1960s, the "Tegel East" beacon, with the ident GL, worked on 322 kHz (see map above, later 321.5 and 321.0 kHz), while the Cottbus radio beacon, with the ident MR worked on nearby 321 kHz, at least in the 1970s. In addition, both airfields have a similar landing direction.
  • 19 October 1969
    An Iljuschin Il-18 of the Polish airline LOT on the flight Warsaw - Schönefeld is forced by two East Germans to land in Berlin Tegel /Der Spiegel 27.10.1969/

In the 1970s


Map of Berlin airfields in 1972
Berlin Tegel Airport on a map of the US Department of Defense from 1972 - (ONC E-2 (1972), Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas at Austin /PCL MC/)

In the 1980s and early 1990s


Data for the year 1990:
  • 08L/26R: 3023 m x 46 m Asphalt
  • 08R/26L: 2424 m x 46 m Asphalt

Radio beacons

Data for the year 1990:
  • ILS08L: 109.1 "ITLE"
  • ILS08R: 108.5 "ITGE"
  • ILS26R: 110.1 "ITLW"
  • ISL26L: 109.3 "ITGW"
  • NDB Tegel West: 392 "RW", 4.26 NM THR 08L
  • NDB Tegel East: 321.5 "GL"




DPT 4/65 DHC-6 (1990)


Photo of Berlin Tegel airport terminal in 1987
Tegel in 1987



Airpot of Berlin, together with Schönefeld


Berlin Tegel airport orthophoto 2016
Orthophoto 2016
Berlin Tegel airport north side 2016
North side with government terminal
Berlin Tegel airport south side 2016
South side with terminal and recent extensions



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