Easyjet flight transports passengers from Berlin to Berlin in 80 minutes

How long is a flight from Berlin’s Tegel airport in the north of the city, to the city’s Schönefeld airport in the south?

Easyjet flight transports passengers from Berlin to Berlin in 80 minutes
An Easyjet flight near Berlin Tegel. Photo: DPA

Well, on Friday this surprising trip took an hour and 20 minutes.

The Taggespiegel reports that an Easyjet plane, which was supposed to fly to Zürich, Switzerland, made this unusual journey from one side of the city to the other after a misunderstanding.

The plane, which was carrying around 200 passengers, was initially delayed because of a technical problem.

It was supposed to leave for Zürich from Tegel at 9:20pm on Friday – but left shortly after 11 pm.

At this point it was thought Zürich Airport officials were poised to allow the plane to land, even though the Swiss airport has a night-time curfew in place.

A ban on flights between 11:30pm and 6am has been in force since July 2010.

However, the pilot on the Easyjet flight then informed the passengers at around 11:40pm that there had been a misunderstanding – because Zurich Airport was not accepting any flights.

The plane then had to turn around and go back to Berlin. Tegel was already closed so the plane landed at around 12:15am in Schönefeld.

The Tagesspiegel reports that there were only five taxis at the airport due to the time of day, which left the passengers struggling to find transport. 

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Berlin Schönefeld airport set to close in March 2021

Now operating as a terminal in the new BER airport, the former Schönefeld airport is set to stop operations in March 2021 in a bid to cut costs.

Berlin Schönefeld airport set to close in March 2021
The former Schönefeld airport, which is currently being used a Terminal 5 of the new BER airport. Photo: DPA

Since the Berlin Brandenburg airport (BER) opened after a nine-year delay on October 31st, Schönefeld (SXF) Airport automatically became BER Terminal 5. 

READ ALSO: Berlin Brandenburg (BER) airport to finally open following nine-year delay

But in light of dwindling passenger numbers, Schönefeld is set to close in March 2021.

However, the former airport – known for being a hub for discount flights in the south of Berlin – will initially close for one year, before the BER airport committee reviews whether to keep it closed permanently. 

“We have to think about whether we really need T5 in 2021,” said airport boss Lütke Daldrup. He pointed out that airport traffic in Berlin in 2020 has been only a tenth of what it was the previously year. 

“All German airports together are expecting a decline in profits of 75 percent in 2020 and a drop of 65 percent in 2021 compared to 2019,” Daldrup told the Berliner Morgenpost on Sunday.

Flight traffic is currently experiencing as dramatic a dip as it did in the spring, amid a more stringent lockdown in Germany, said Daldrup. 

Air traffic experienced a brief revival over the summer, however, which is why Tegel airport was kept open a few months longer than initially planned.

The northern Berlin airport saw its last flight depart on November 8th. 

READ ALSO: Berlin's airport closes following last flight to Tegel

Both the main Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at BER are slated to remain open, with some airlines at Schönefeld shifting over following the closure.

The discount airlines Ryanair and WizzAir are especially affected by the move, reported the Morgenpost, as they will have to pay greater fees to park at the modernised BER. 

According to current calculations, BER's airport company needs another €500 to €550 million for the coming year, as Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) recently said.

Daldrup said he therefore did not expect much resistance to the closure of Schönefeld, which is located about 20 kilometres south of the centre of Berlin.