Activist group petitions to save Tempelhof airport

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6 Oct, 2008 Updated Mon 6 Oct 2008 19:00 CEST
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Berlin residents failed to turn out and vote to save the city’s historic Tempelhof airport this April, but now an activist group has announced they are petitioning for a referendum to ensure that it will be preserved as an architectural monument, Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Monday.

The long-term goal of is a UNESCO World Heritage status for the airport, which is set to close on October 31. The referendum petition to have the world’s first commercial airport recognized “on a national and international level” will be circulated in the airport’s district of Schöneberg, the paper reports.

Tempelhof was erected in 1923, but is best known for its Nazi-era main terminal. After the Second World War, Allied pilots ferried supplies into the airport in West Berlin when the Soviets tried to starve the city into submission in 1948-49. But Tempelhof's passenger numbers have dwindled in recent years despite its prime location.

Most Berlin flights are from Tegel on Berlin's northwest fringe, which is also due to shut down before the expanded Schönefeld facility becomes the capital's sole airport in three years.

Some Berlin politicians have called for the massive swathe of open space and the accompanying buildings to be repurposed for housing and recreation, though plans are still pending.

Three percent of the Schöneberg district voters will have to sign the new petition within the next six months in order for the initiative to be considered as a referendum, Der Tagesspiegel reported.



2008/10/06 19:00

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