The glory days of “the mother of all airports” (British architect Sir Norman Foster) having long passed, the last few days on life support for Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport are about to run out now, too. Berliners are currently hurrying to say their goodbyes and hustling to get on one of the last sightseeing flights offered on one of the 1940s-era planes still operating out of Tempelhof before the airport closes for good at the end of this month.

For many here in Berlin a big surprise, a referandum held to keep the historic airport open failed in April. Although 60 percent of the population was said to be in favor of keeping Tempelhof open, only 21 percent of those eligble to vote actually turned out, nullifying an election where a 25 percent turnout minimum was required.

And now, after 80 years of service, the airport that demonstrated a turning point in German-American realtions after World War II, the airport we associate with the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49, will be closing down for good. Stalin’s attempt to starve out two and half million Berliners failed here, broken in part by the famous Douglas DC-3 aircraft which flew in loads of supplies nearly every minute for the length of the blockade, planes which can still be seen and flown here. Many Germans now want to take the opportunity to take a thirty minute trip in one of these famous “raison bombers” themselves, paying up to $242 per person per ride.

Once the largest building in the world (before the Pentagon beat it after the war), Tempelhof is still the largest building in Europe and considered by most experts to be an architetctural masterpiece, despite it’s obvious ties to the Nazi era. And the size of the stucture in and of itself will now cause the city a new type of problem. Basically a massive bunker system, it would simply be too expensive to tear it down.

Perhaps that is why the city government is still accepting proposals from the public about the airport’s future use. Whether the politicians like it or not, the historic crescent-shaped terminal building will remain a reminder of the airport’s heroic past, failed referendum or not.

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