World News

Berlin's Tegel airport says flights to go ahead while WW2 bomb defused

BERLIN (Reuters) - Flights from Berlin’s Tegel airport can go ahead as planned on Friday while a World War Two bomb is defused in the German capital, airport authorities said on Thursday.

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The 500-kilogram (1,100-pound) British bomb was found during construction work near the city’s central train station. All buildings within an 800-metre (2,625 ft) radius will be evacuated from 9 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on Friday, police said on Twitter.

“Good news: The originally coordinated Tegel flight plan for tomorrow can take place as planned,” the airport operator told passengers via Twitter. Air traffic controllers and the airport had agreed a procedure to make flights possible.

Planes coming in to land at Tegel, which is about 7 km (4.5 miles) from the central station, would need to avoid flying over the site where disposal work was being carried out.

But the DFS air traffic control authority said usual take-off and landing routes should not be affected.

The DFS spokeswoman said airlines may need to fly with greater separation between planes than usual during that time.

One bus route that goes to and from the airport via the main train station would be diverted, however.

More than seven decades after the end of World War Two, Germany still discovers more than 2,000 tonnes of live bombs and munitions every year.

Tegel airport was also briefly closed last August after a Russian-made bomb was discovered, forcing flights that evening to divert to the city’s other airport, Schoenefeld.

Tegel is Berlin’s busiest airport, serving over 21 million passengers a year. Major airlines flying to the airport include easyJet, Lufthansa, Eurowings, British Airways and Air France-KLM.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Richard Balmforth