DC-3 Air Tours Of Berlin Drawing Sell-Out Crowds
Berlin's beloved Tempelhof Airport is slated to close at the end
of this month, and many Germans are taking one last opportunity to
take a nostalgic look at the airport -- and the city -- from
For a fare of 179 euros (about $242 US), Agence France-Presse
reports, "private operator Air Service Berlin puts on a period show
for its guests.
"Passengers are greeted with a glass of sparkling wine by staff
in crisp 1940s uniforms in the original officers' lounge where the
Airlift pilots took short breaks between delivery flights. Swing
music plays as guests are ushered into a small cinema for a moving
short film about the Airlift featuring interviews with its
Escorted to the ramp, passengers are then given a half-hour
aerial tour of Berlin's landmarks aboard a vintage Douglas DC-3.
Built in 1944, the plane is named the Jack O. Bennett, who was the
Air Force Captain credited with making the first flight of the
"I want to have it again, that old feeling of flying with
everything bouncing and rattling," said retired school principal
Peter Kirchoff, 66, wearing a bomber jacket. "And I want a bird's
eye view of the city -- instead of Google Earth, it's Berlin
Former teacher Ilona Stach said she often came to Tempelhof in
the 1960s, watching well-heeled travellers jetting off to exotic
destinations. "It was like getting a whiff of the big wide world
out there," said Stach, 59. "Tempelhof always had real flair."
Scheduled to be closed down forever on October 31, the 80
year-old Tempelhof has become a focus of interest in the city.
As ANN reported, a public referendum held last
April failed to save the airfield.
The Federal Administrative Court ruled Tempelhof to be closed in
order to make way for the new international airport, Berlin
Brandenburg International (BBI), due to open in 2011 on the
outskirts of the city.
Originally opened in 1926, Tempelhof is home to the largest
building in Western Europe, the huge terminal building. A symbol of
the city's history and strength, the crescent-shaped building is a
national monument, and the only part of the airport that will
remain. Proposals for the future use of the airport have suggested
a biotech park, film studios, a "green" residential development,
and a giant solar energy center, the AFP said.