Berlin Tegel airport will remain open until November as coronavirus travel restrictions are eased. The airport’s operators earlier proposed suspending operations in mid-June.

Flughafen Berlin-Brandenburg (FBB), the operator of Tegel, said on June 4 that the decision to keep the airport open was made as air traffic is increasing faster than expected and there are now clear signs of an approaching recovery.

From mid-June, the number of regular connections from Berlin will increase to 40. In July, there will be 100 connections offered. “It is likely that the number of daily passengers will more than double in June from the approximately 3,000 there are at the moment. Up to 20,000 passengers are expected at the end of July,” FBB said in a statement.

“A crucial reason for the significant increase in the number of connections is that travel restrictions will be lifted. On June 3, the German government announced that from mid-June it will lift the strict travel restrictions that have been in place until now to a great extent. This means that free travel to many European countries will be possible again from mid-June.”

Airlines that are gradually re-starting their flight operations include easyJet, which has its largest base outside the United Kingdom in Berlin. On June 2, the UK-headquartered LCC announced that operations would start again at the end of June. More flights are expected at the end of July. Ryanair plans to increase its flight operations from June 21 with a further increase in July. Other airlines have announced the revival of their services from Berlin, including Turkish Airlines, Wizz Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air France, and Qatar Airways, Tegel’s operators said. Lufthansa will expand its current service and, together with its subsidiaries Eurowings, Swiss, and Austrian Airlines will offer more flights from Berlin in July.

“Because of this new situation, Tegel Airport will be needed again from July/August. FBB is, therefore, withdrawing its application for exemption from its operating obligations. In order to be able to organise the increasing air traffic in an operationally reliable and safe way until Berlin Brandenburg Int'l is commissioned [on October 31], Tegel Airport will remain operational as originally planned until November 8, 2020,” FBB stated.

Engelbert Lutke Daldrup, chief executive officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, said: “Everyone had hoped that the recovery would start quickly but it was not expected until recently. The daily passenger figures will be far below last year’s figures, with almost 20,000 passengers at the end of July. However, all handling processes, especially security checks, require considerably more space under corona conditions. Tegel and Berlin Schönefeld will simultaneously remain operational until the end of October to be able to reliably maintain this position until BER [Berlin-Brandenburg International] is commissioned.”

Construction of the BER airport began in 2006, but has been long delayed. It is expected to replace both Tegel and Schonefeld airports.