Berlin's Tegel airport says flights to go ahead while World War II bomb is defused

The main building and tower of Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany.
The main building and tower of Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany.PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Flights from Berlin's Tegel airport can go ahead as planned on Friday while a World War II bomb is defused in the German capital, airport authorities said on Thursday (April 19).

The 500kg British bomb was found during construction work near the city's central train station.

All buildings within an 800m radius will be evacuated from 9am local time (3pm Singapore time) 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 7km 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 II, 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.