Rubble to Runway: Tegel Airfield

Logisticians knew that the Berlin Airlift’s success depended upon rapidly expanding the capacity of Berlin airports. The potential at Tempelhof and Gatow for expansion was limited. A third, new airlift terminal facility was desperately needed. Tegel in the French Sector was selected.

Construction began on August 5, 1948, and was finished on 5 November 1948. 17,000 German civilians, roughly 40% of them women, worked in three shifts to accomplish the work. The majority of the runway and taxiways were constructed using shattered brick debris from the destroyed buildings of Berlin, then paved over with asphalt which had been flown into Berlin using 10,000 55-gallon drums.