Berlin Tegel survives vote

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To some an old 1970s relic, to others a quick gateway
To some an old 1970s relic and source of aircraft noise, to others a convenient gateway to the German capital, Berlin’s iconic Tegel Airport won a vote of confidence among the city’s population on Sunday.
Held on the same day as Germany’s general election, a referendum showed that 56.1% of voters supported an initiative to keep Tegel open, with 991,832 Berliners voting for the airport and 737,216 against, and 39,735 invalid votes.
Visibly dating from the Cold War-era, Tegel, or TXL, has been marked for closure for many years. But the embarrassing delay in opening a replacement airport, BER, has led to a popular push to keep it as the city’s second airport.
The campaign has delighted frequent flyers who benefit from the short bus or taxi ride in the northwest suburbs. But it has angered 300,000 residents living with the roar of jets above their homes. They face a fall in the value of their properties if TXL keeps operating and are likely to respond with mass lawsuits.
The vote, in which Berlin’s municipality campaigned for closure, is not legally binding, but it divides political parties including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s newly re-elected centre-right bloc. Merkel says TXL must close when BER finally opens, possibly in 2019.
AFP / dpa