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Luftwaffe lacking plans for move to new Berlin airport

The German military’s current airport home in Berlin may be closing, but the Luftwaffe still lacks concrete plans for a move to a new air hub currently under construction, daily newspaper Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday.

Luftwaffe lacking plans for move to new Berlin airport
A government Challenger jet. Photo: DPA

The German air force’s VIP squadron, used to fly politicians from one place to the other, will continue to headquarter its long-distance planes near the country’s former capital of Bonn, the newspaper reported.

The seven Airbus A-310 planes located near Bonn must travel to Berlin each time they are needed to escort government officials on a long-distance trip.

Helicopters and small Challenger jets used on shorter trips are now based at Berlin’s Tegel airport. The airport also has a reception area for official government guests.

Tegel is set to close once the city’s new Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BBI) opens – scheduled in 2011.

The Tagesspiegel quoted a government spokesman as saying the air force intends to move to BBI but has reached no final decision.

The government wanted to leave its options open to see how the controversy over Berlin’s airports developed, the newspaper reported.

“Discussions are ongoing but have not finished yet,” Berlin Airports spokesman Ralf Kunkel told the Tagesspiegel.

A referendum aiming to keep open the city’s third airport, Tempelhof, failed last month.

UKRAINE

Germany’s Schröder to remain in Social Democrats despite Putin ties

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will remain a member of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD), the party said Monday, finding his ties with Vladimir Putin did not breach its rules.

Germany's Schröder to remain in Social Democrats despite Putin ties

The SPD’s Hanover branch said Schröder, whose party membership falls under its umbrella, was “not guilty of a violation of the party rules, as no violation can be proven against him”.

The branch had opened a hearing in July to discuss 17 motions from local and regional chapters against Schroeder’s ongoing membership of the party.

The decision can be appealed, but legal experts say there are high hurdles for expelling members.

Schröder, chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has refused to turn his back on Putin despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His stance has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Social Democrats move to dispel Schröder over Putin ties

He has also been widely criticised for holding a number of lucrative posts at Russian energy giants, and it was only after much public pressure that Schröder in May gave up his seat on the board of Russian energy group Rosneft.

He later also announced he would not be joining Gazprom’s supervisory board as initially planned.

Germany’s parliament in May removed some of the perks Schröder was entitled to as an elder statesman, stripping him of an office and staff.

Schröder, 78, who was Angela Merkel’s immediate predecessor, has remained defiant and met with Putin in Moscow in July.

In an interview after the visit, he claimed Russia wanted a “negotiated solution” to the war – comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Schröder has also called on Berlin to reconsider its position on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which stands completed but was blocked by the German government in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine.

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