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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. 

 

 

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.

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