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Germany

Tempelhof Air Traffic Grounded for Good

The end of the line has finally come for one of Berlin's three airports. Tempelhof, in the heart of the city, is preparing to close its runways for good. Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit, who announced the decision this week, made it clear that there would be no eleventh hour salvation for the airport, which has been losing money hand over fist for more than a decade. Since 1991, the airport has run up debts to the tune of €139 million ($164 million), and experts predict that keeping the ailing hub alive would add another €120 million to the pile by 2010. Templehof air traffic will be re-routed via Tegel or Schönefeld, which is earmarked to become a massive airport servicing the whole city and providing as many as 10,000 extra jobs. Tempelhof began operating in 1923 and by the 1930s had become the largest airport in Europe. But as the city has grown up around it, so have concerns that the location is just an accident waiting to happen. Come October of this year, all such worries will be a thing of the past.