In planning the Berlin Airlift, Air Force planners believed rapid expansion of the capacity of Berlin airports was critical to success. The potential capacity expansion offered by the existing Tempelhof and Gatow airports was limited and difficult. It was decided that a third airport was needed, and a site was selected at Tegel in the divided city's so-called French Sector, where construction on began August 5, 1948.
Finished just three months later on November 5, 1948, the new airport had a 5,500-foot runway, 6,020 feet of taxiway, 4,400 feet of access road, 2,750 feet of access railroad and more than 1 million square feet of apron area used for unloading operations and aircraft parking.
Here, Royal Air Force C-47s are seen being unloaded in the beginning days of flight operations at the Berlin Tegel airport in the Berlin French zone.