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WWII bomb closes Berlin Tegel airport

August 30, 2017

Air traffic above the German capital was thrown into chaos by the discovery of an unexploded bomb. Flights were diverted to Berlin's unfinished airport.

Air Berlin plane takes off from Tegel
Image: Reuters/F. Bensch

The discovery of a World War II bomb forced the closure of Berlin's Tegel airport (TXL) on Tuesday night.

About 24 flights were diverted from the inner-city airport to Schönefeld airport (SXF) in the city's southeast as police disarmed the Russian-made dud.

But SXF was so swamped by the incoming aircraft that flights were forced to use runways at the nearby Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which is still under construction.The airport's runways are often used by SXF-bound flights.

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Passengers were stranded outside the deserted BER terminals as they waited for a means to disembark the aircraft. Passengers shared images and details of their situation.

Twitter users complained of being stranded at BER without stairs or buses. "Stairs? We need some stairs here at BER immediately," one user quipped.

Other users shared images of the air traffic chaos above Berlin.

Police announced the discovery of the 100-kilogram (220-pound) bomb in the late afternoon and sent bomb defusal specialists. Two hours later TXL announced anticipated disruptions to its service due to the bomb. The bomb also led to the closure of the U7 metro line.

Read more: Woman mistakes WWII-era munition for precious stone on German beach

Police posted updates of their defusal process on Twitter.

After the defusal some flights were allowed to fly to TXL while others disembarked at SXF. By Wednesday operations at TXL had largely returned to normal.

Discoveries of World War II bombs are a frequent occurrence in Germany, often causing massive disruption and evacuations. Much to the disappointment of Berlin residents, TXL is facing closure when BER officially opens, if it ever does.

Infografik Fertigstellungsfristen Berlin Brabdenburg Airport Englisch