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A public vote next month will decide the fate of Tempelhof airport, although opinion remains fiercely divided on the issue.
Speaking to ABTN this afternoon (15 January) in Berlin, British Chamber of Commerce in Germany director Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath said: ”Tempelhof is a political game ” they want to close it but it is a political decision [although] most people in the business community are against that.
”There will now be a public vote in mid February to decide whether or not to revisit the issue.”
It would appear there is a battle royale between the State government that controls the airport and the Federal Administration.
”The Federal government wanted to keep Tempelhof open for its ministries to fly out of Berlin quickly,” added Meyer-Schwickerath.
That request is pertinent as, since the ”300bn ($447bn) reunification, Germany has progressively transferred the bulk of its government to Berlin, leaving just a rump of defence and smaller ministries in the former west German capital of Bonn.
But established airlines are not exactly queuing up to save Tempelhof. Lufthansa said yesterday that it would not countenance paying for the deficit-making airport, despite its undoubted popularity with business passengers, who view its proximity to Berlin city centre as eminently practical.
”Tempelhof makes absolute sense,” said Meyer-Schwickerath [but] ”no one has a plan of what to do when it closes. Why not have a plan first and then change?
”It”s a red coalition here. Dark red.”