Thanks to decreased passenger numbers and a new airport opening, Berlin isn’t short of free space in its airports. However, the airport isn’t letting space go to waste, with terminals being repurposed as vaccination centers in the fight against COVID-19.
2020 was a turbulent year for Berlin’s airports, with cause for celebration, as well as negative stories. After nine years, Berlin Brandenburg Airport finally opened, engulfing the former Schönefeld Airport. Meanwhile, Tegel Airport closed, and a month after opening it, Berlin had to close its new runway due to a lack of traffic.
Two airports repurposed as vaccination centers
The COVID-19 vaccine is being viewed by many as a tool that will help to reopen borders following the COVID-19 pandemic. This would likely help the aviation industry to begin the long road to recovery, as both business and leisure travelers would possibly once again be able to travel without the hassle of COVID-19 tests and quarantine periods.
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The aviation scene in Berlin is lending a hand to authorities to assist with distributing the COVID-19 vaccine across two sites. Firstly, in the city of Berlin itself, Terminal C at the city’s old Tegel Airport was turned into a vaccine center by the Berlin Senate in December. This follows the closure of the airport to aircraft and passengers in November.
The operational airport is also helping out
Meanwhile, a part of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, formally Schönefeld Airport, has also been made available to the cause. At the end of November, Simple Flying reported that the airport was faced with temporarily closing both its new runway and the soviet era Terminal 5 used by low-cost carriers.
The airport’s operators said that Terminal 5 would be closed for an initial period of one year from Spring 2021. However, one part is already being used for non-aviation purposes. According to the operator, around 1,300 square meters have been used to establish a vaccination center in area M of Terminal 5. During its first day of operation, the facility handled 100 appointments
100 Termine am 1. Tag: Heute eröffnete das Corona-Impfzentrum am #BER_T5. Es ist das 3. Impfzentrum im Land Brandenburg. Die Flughafengesellschaft stellte dafür ein 1.300 m² großes, abgegrenztes Areal im Bereich M zur Verfügung. Zur Pressemitteilung: https://t.co/ZKK7gCdjFx pic.twitter.com/RknRUeFHwa
— BER Corporate News (@ber_corporate) January 11, 2021
Commenting on the news, Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said,
“The vaccine is an essential step towards reviving travel and air traffic. As the airport company, we are making every effort to support the vaccination campaigns of the Berlin and Brandenburg state governments… people want to fly, and comprehensive immunisation provides hope for opening the borders without quarantine restrictions.”
Vaccination centers aren’t the only ways that airports are helping with the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. Many German airports now host COVID-19 testing centers. One of the first such centers, set up by Centogene and Lufthansa in Frankfurt, has acted as one of the city’s main test centers since the summer. Centogene also has a facility at Berlin Brandenburg’s Terminal 1.
Do you think using airports as COVID-19 vaccination centers is a good idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!