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