The airport they couldn't shut down: Berlin Tegel

Story highlights

  • Berlin's Cold War-era Tegel Airport handles more than three times the passengers it was designed for
  • Airport granted a stay of execution due to delays to Berlin's new Brandenburg Airport
  • Airport officials no longer willing to put a completion date on new airport to avoid further embarrassment

(CNN)It's Friday afternoon and Berlin Tegel Airport is overwhelmed.

Several flights are delayed and passengers crowd the terminal, scowling at the departure screens and tapping away at their smartphones in frustration.
    It's not a typical scene at Tegel but hardly a surprising one.
      The airport was built 40 years ago to handle just 6 million passengers a year in a city that was then an island surrounded by the former East Germany.
      Berlin has since changed almost beyond recognition, becoming one of Europe's major capitals and a popular travel destination.
      Tegel now handles 20 million passengers annually and should've closed down long ago, but an embarrassing series of setbacks and delays to the cit