Reply To: Which airports should be completely demolished and rebuilt?

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Hi all,

interesting posts in the past few pages. When I first read the topic I “immediately* thought of Berlin Airport, glad to see that is being discussed as it is of great interest to me.

I was lucky enough to have lived in the great city that is Berlin and back then (early 2008) the three airports were still open: Schoenefeld (SXF), Tegel (TXL) and Tempelhof (THF). At that time, there was a lot of turmoil over what to do with these three airports given the fact the main airport gateway in Germany is Frankfurt and the secondary ones are Dusseldorf and Munich, not Berlin. Politics, both local/regional and national got involved but finally the decision was made to use the Schoenefeld area to build an entirely NEW airport (BER) which I think, although costly, is a good idea.

SXF was (and I believe still is) a total joke: walking up and down stairs in random directions, no heating in many places (this is east Germany, winters get bitter cold!), the airport was a big – outdated – mess and the distance to an equally outdated train (S-Bahn) station was the cherry on top.

TXL is kind of like Orly in Paris which a lot of you seem to dislike: it must have been a great airport when it opened up but not only was it back then (2008) already clearly congested because of its small size with little expansion options but also becoming decrepit (similarly to SXF) and the connections to the city were ridiculous: no trains, just a bus which would get so packed that it defeated the purpose.

THF was on the contrary an amazing experience: how surprising is it to take the underground train (U-Bahn) to an airport! So close to the center of the city it was obvious that this airport had to be closed. I took one of the last flights out (to BRU) but the facilities reminded me more of a museum than an international airport. In Fact I believe they have transformed the whole airport ground in a sort of park open for all which is an excellent idea.

I think the situation in Berlin is the most relevant to this specific discussion: they had 3 airports, all more or less congested and outdated so they decided to build a fourth one. The disaster that followed is just awful and could/should have been avoided…

Anyway, just to give you guys my honest opinion on the topic: I believe the worst airport I have ever traveled to is Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). The many terminals there are confusing and difficult to transfer from one to another, the T1 is so congested you need more than 2 hours to simply queue your way to and through it, the T4 is the most ridiculous piece of airport building I have ever been through although the T3 is arguably rather OK. They are thinking of building a 5th terminal there, which will just add on to the mess… If you ask me, you just build a HUGE and NEW airport somewhere else with modern public transportation to connect to the other disaster which is Manila city.

The same comments are also valid for Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK), which so ridiculously small and congested: I don’t understand how it alone can serve such a large city, an area of an estimated 20+ million souls!!!

CDG in Paris is far from perfect, but when you travel to Jakarta and Manila, I can guarantee you look at things differently.

Cheers 🙂

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