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All the important towns of Germany are linked by air with the capital and with foreign cities


Berlin’s aerodrome at Tempelhof is only two miles from the heart of the city

FORMERLY A PARADE GROUND, Berlin’s aerodrome at Tempelhof is only two miles from the heart of the city. Tempelhof Airport is the centre of national and international aviation in Germany, but there are other aerodromes in Germany which are also of international importance.

DEUTSCHE LUFTHANSA, or D.L.H., the corporation responsible for the German airways, controls all air transport services over Germany. The network of routes is the closest in Europe. These routes have been developed in spite of abnormal initial difficulties, as civil aviation in Germany was affected by the aftermath of the war of 1914-18 to a much greater degree than that of any other country.

For some years after the Armistice Germany produced no military aircraft. Civil aviation became the sole means of sustaining the prestige upon which the Germans prided themselves and the only means of training pilots of the younger generation.

Regular air traffic began in 1919, expanding outwards from the capital city of Berlin. Despite the country’s poverty, a subsidy was provided and, when the collapse of the currency brought further troubles, these were overcome by supplying the companies with petrol for every kilometre flown. In a few years the Germans raised civil aviation to an enviable stage of efficiency and won admiration for the skill of their pilots, the quality of their aircraft, and the speed, regularity and safety of their services.

The two principal air lines were the Aero Lloyd and the Junkers Luftverkehr. These companies were combined when Deutsche Lufthansa came into being on January 6, 1926. For three months civil aviation was suspended to enable every branch to be organized. Flying began under the new order on April 6, 1926, and before the opening day everything was done to make the public familiar with air transport.

A notable feature of the new era of civil flying was the establishment in Berlin of Tempelhof Airport on a scale which was not only adequate to the requirements of the time, but which also provided for future expansion.

Tempelhof, the site of which was formerly a parade ground, lies about two miles from the heart of Berlin. The policy of the authorities in providing an adequate airport in the capital, instead of outside it, has been of considerable benefit to the city and to German civil aviation. There is not that time-lag between airport and capital that is such a disadvantage to air transport and air mail in Great Britain, France and other countries, where, on short air routes, passengers, mail and freight may spend more time in surface vehicles than in the air.

The nearness of one of the world’s finest airports and the opportunities of seeing the civil air fleet have helped the Berlin citizens to become air-minded. The Government has continued its progressive policy. At the time of writing (1938) the landing area is being enlarged to three times its present dimensions; offices for the civil aviation administration department are being built of such dimensions that- no extensions will be necessary for many years.

The buildings which are being erected beside the arterial road that leads from the centre of Berlin are provided with garages. The hangars have roof terraces for spectators, and hangars and workshops are provided with a railway to carry goods and supplies. The new elliptical landing area is planned to provide a north-west run of a mile and a half, and a minimum run of a mile.

Deutsche Lufthansa began operating with about 120 aircraft, one-third of which were based on Tempelhof. The machines were Junkers, Dorniers, Albatrosses, Udets and Rohrbachs. Although the first year’s traffic was affected by the suspension of flying for three months, the year’s results showed that passenger traffic had increased by 50 per cent, mail by 86 per cent, and baggage and freight by 115 per cent. Ten years later, when Deutsche Lufthansa had completed the first decade of flying, the total route mileage had increased from 12,170 in 1926 to 23,630 in 1935. Of the latter total 15,317 miles were in Europe, 4,896 miles were on the South Atlantic mail route and 3,417 miles were in China. Passengers increased in number from 37,605 in 1926 to 184,280 in 1935.

Night flying, diesel-engined aircraft and catapulted aircraft have received particular attention in the development of the mail and freight routes. The catapult air mail service between Germany and South America is described in the chapter “Catapults for Aircraft”.

The route is from Berlin by way of Frankfurt, Marseilles, Lisbon and the north-west coast of Africa to Bathurst, capital of the British colony of Gambia. From Bathurst the South Atlantic is crossed to Natal, in the east of Brazil. Thence the route follows the coast via Recife (Pernambuco), San Salvador (Bahia), Belmonte, Victoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Florianopolis and Porto Alegre. Beyond Porto Alegre the aircraft fly out of Brazil to Montevideo, in Uruguay, and to Buenos Aires, in Argentina. The route is operated in conjunction with the Condor Syndicate of Brazil. There are connexions at Natal with the air service to Manaos, on the River Amazon, and at Santos with the service to Sao Paulo, Corumba and Cuyaba; all these places are in Brazil.

At Buenos Aires the route connects with that over the Andes to Santiago, the capital of Chile, from which aeroplanes fly up the Pacific coast of South America to Guayaquil, in Ecuador. At Frankfurt European mail for this service is collected and distributed.

Passenger services in the Far East are normally operated by the Eurasia Aviation Corporation, the headquarters of which are in Shanghai. The machines are all Junkers and link Shanghai with Nanking, Chengchow and other cities in China. Chengchow has another Eurasia service which goes to Peiping. Hanoi, the terminus of the Air France route from Europe (see the chapter “World-Wide French Services”), is linked with the Eurasia system. Most of the energies of German civil aviation are devoted to Germany. Recently a service has been inaugurated for passengers, mail and freight from Berlin to Baghdad (Iraq) and Tehran (Iran), with a projected extension to Kabul (Afghanistan). The routes to European countries outside Germany are operated in conjunction with the national air lines of the country served by each route. Berlin is the focal airport, but it is too far east to serve some of the international routes, so that there are several airports in Germany which are of international importance as well as being centres of much German traffic.

Civil aviation in Germany has reached the stage where the multiplicity of the services gives the traveller facilities on a scale comparable with that provided by the railways. In every town of importance the passenger has at his disposal such a well-organized network of airways that he can travel quickly and easily by air to any part of Europe. If he is in a remote village, road or railway transport carries him the short distance to the nearest airport. If he wishes to make a return journey he gains a rebate of 20 per cent, the return ticket being normally valid for two months. A reduction of 10 per cent is made for each sector of the route if the passenger makes a circular trip by air, returning to the airport from which he started.

On most routes the passenger is given a free allowance of luggage weighing up to 15 kilograms (33 lb.); luggage in excess of this is charged at a rate of approximately three-quarters per cent of the passenger fare per kilogram. The routes are divided into fare sectors and fares are calculated by adding these sectors together for the whole route. There is a minimum fare of 12 Reichmarks (about £1 at current rate) for two or more sectors. A charter flight can be arranged at every airport in Germany. From Berlin more than forty air routes radiate to all points of the compass, the traffic westward being particularly heavy. Some of these routes are international and the air liners do not stop at the chief airports elsewhere in Germany. Other routes serve the key airports or go to smaller ones which are served also from the nearest large city.

German airways

THE CLOSEST NETWORK OF ROUTES IN EUROPE is that of the German airways. Civil aviation in Germany is such that the multiplicity of the services gives the traveller facilities on a scale which is comparable with that provided by the railways. A reduction of twenty per cent in the fare is made for return journeys, and return tickets are normally valid for two months.

Hamburg, one of the chief airports, is a centre for routes to Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as for many ports and towns in Germany. Essen-Mulheim, Dortmund, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Nuremberg (Nurnberg), Halle-Leipzig and Dresden are other important airports.

The northern routes from Berlin come first under consideration. A route to Copenhagen and thence to Stockholm is operated in conjunction with the Danish and Swedish companies. Copenhagen is also on the Deutsche Lufthansa route from Hamburg, and a short but important route is to Malmo, in Sweden. Another route goes to Oslo via the Swedish port of Gothenburg (Goteborg); others serve various towns in Denmark. There is, in addition, a direct service from Berlin to Stockholm. A route which does not leave the German side of the Baltic is from Berlin to the Pomeranian towns of Stettin, Swinemunde and Sellin-Rugen.

An important international line goes from Berlin to the chief cities of the States on the eastern side of the Baltic. The first stopping place is the Free City of Danzig; thence the aeroplane flies across the Gulf of Danzig to Konigsberg, in East Prussia. The next stage is to Kaunas, or Kovno, the Lithuanian capital, which lies inland. At Riga, the capital of Latvia, the route reaches the Baltic again. The route continues northward to Tallinn, formerly Reval, the capital of Estonia, and proceeds across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki (Helsingfors), the capital of Finland.

From Helsinki the traveller may fly to Turku (Abo) and across the Baltic to Stockholm, whence he can fly direct to Berlin. Riga is the junction for an air line to Wilno (Yilna), in Poland, and to the Polish capital, Warsaw. The Berlin-Warsaw route is through Poznan (Posen), in Poland, and there is also a route from Warsaw to Danzig.

Bavarian Air Junction

South-east from Berlin a route goes to Breslau, the big industrial centre in Silesia, and is continued to Gleiwitz, near the south-east border of Silesia and Poland. Breslau lies at the eastern end of a route which goes westward across Germany by way of Dresden, Halle-Leipzig and Cologne, connecting at each of these airports with other routes. Another service from Breslau is to Hirschberg, a thriving Silesian industrial town not far from the border of Czechoslovakia.

An international route from Berlin goes to Budapest (Hungary) and continues to Bucharest (Romania), Belgrade (Yugoslavia), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Thessaloniki (Salonica) to Athens, the capital of Greece. Another international route is from Berlin to Belgrade, Greece and Bulgaria. Yet another is to Vienna non-stop; an alternative is from Berlin to Dresden and Prague and on to Vienna.

To Italy from Berlin the direct route is to Munich and south to Venice and Rome. This route is joined at Munich by another that proceeds via Halle-Leipzig and Nuremberg. Other routes from Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Dortmund, Munster, Cologne and cities in Holland and Belgium converge at Frankfurt. There they join the main route from that city southward across Germany, Switzerland and the Alps to Milan and Rome.

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is the junction for various routes. One goes south-eastward to Salzburg, in the province of Austria, and on to Vienna. At Salzburg routes connect with Linz to the north-east and Innsbruck to the south-west. A route from Munich to Switzerland is via Zurich. One route to Frankfurt is direct; an alternative is to Nuremberg and thence to Frankfurt.

Halle-Leipzig, a big air junction, is fourteen miles from Halle, in Saxony, and nine miles from Leipzig; the airport is situated to the west of Dresden. Dresden, the airport on the Berlin to Prague route, is linked with Halle-Leipzig, whence cross-country routes go west and north-west, cutting across the routes from Berlin to western Germany and Holland.

The most northerly of these routes goes to Magdeburg and on to Hanover; another goes to Dortmund. Yet another goes south-west to the junction at Stuttgart, which lies on the Frankfurt-Zurich route and has spur lines to Friedrichshafen, on the German side of the Lake of Constance, and to Freiburg, in the Black Forest.

Frankfurt has a direct service to Halle-Leipzig and one via Erfurt. Other radial routes from Frankfurt are to Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg, to Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden, to Paris, to Brussels, to Cologne, to Dortmund, to Hanover and direct to Berlin.

To the west of Berlin, Hanover is the centre of routes which serve Munster and Bremen. Hamburg, north-west of Berlin, is the centre of services to the Kiel Canal and the North Sea coastal ports.

The route from Berlin to London, which is operated in conjunction with K.L.M. (see the chapter “Royal Dutch Air Lines”), is via Amsterdam; another route, via Cologne and Brussels, is operated in conjunction with Imperial Airways and Sabena (see the chapter “Belgium’s National Air Line”).

North-west from Berlin a route goes to Kiel, and another to Hamburg and from that port to Kiel. From Kiel a service crosses Schleswig to Flensburg and then goes east to the North Sea coast to serve Wyk, North Frisian Islands. Another route is from Hamburg to Wyk. The East Frisian Islands are served by one route from Hamburg and another from Bremen to Wangerooge, off the Jade Estuary. There is a service from Wangerooge to the other islands of Langeoog, Norderney and Borkum, which guards the mouth of the River Ems. There are two routes to the mainland from Borkum, one going to Dortmund and the other to Essen-Mulheim.

The fleet of Deutsche Lufthansa consists of more than 150 aircraft, most of which are Junkers and Heinkels. The Junkers Ju 52 is the type which has been most used in recent years. It seats fifteen passengers and has a crew of three.

A 23-Tons Monoplane

This low-wing cantilever metal monoplane is powered by three 660 horse-power B.M.W. Hornet engines which give a maximum speed of 174 miles an hour. Wing span is 95 ft. 6 in., length 63 feet and total weight, loaded, 20,250 lb. Deutsche Lufthansa has used, as well, the seaplane version of the Ju 52, which is of the same capacity, weight and dimensions, but is powered by three 525 horse-power Hornets, which give a maximum speed of 153 miles an hour. A smaller and swifter Junkers in service is the Ju 160, which carries six passengers and a crew of two at a maximum speed of 211 miles an hour. It is powered by a 660 horsepower B.M.W. Hornet. The Ju 160 is a low-wing cantilever monoplane. Wing span is 47 feet, length 38 ft. 4 in. and total weight 7,710 lb.

One four-engined Junkers, G 38, is in service. This low-wing cantilever monoplane accommodates thirty-four passengers and a crew of seven. It is powered by four 750 horse-power Junkers Jumo 204 diesel engines. The span is 146 feet, the length 77 ft. 2 in. and the total weight 53,000 lb. (over 23 tons). Maximum speed is 131 miles an hour.

The Junkers Ju 86 has a cruising speed of 224 miles an hour. This twin-engined machine, which seats ten passengers, has a span of 73 ft. 10 in., a length of 57 ft. 5 in. and a loaded weight of 17,650 lb. The engines are Junkers Jumo 205 diesel engines which develop 600 horse-power each.

Most numerous of the Heinkel types is the He. 70, with a maximum speed of 225 miles an hour; it has one 660 horsepower B.M.W. VI d engine. This low-wing monoplane seats four passengers and a crew of two. The span is 48 ft. 6 in., the length 37 ft. 8| in., and the total weight 7,400 lb.

The twin-engined He. 111 seats ten passengers. The span is 75 ft. 2 in., the length 56 feet and the loaded weight 16,764 lb. Two B.M.W. 660 horsepower engines give a cruising speed of 186 miles an hour; alternatively, two 880 horse-power engines of similar make give a cruising speed of 217 miles an hour. For the catapult mail services the company uses Heinkel seaplanes and Dornier Wal and Dornier flying boats powered by Jumo diesel engines.

Among the new machines being put into service are the Junkers Ju 90 and the Focke-Wulf Fw. 200, both of which cruise at more than 200 miles an hour.

The cruising speed of the Ju 90 is over two hundred miles an hour

ONE OF THE LATEST German air liners is a four-engined monoplane which carries forty passengers and is known as the Ju 90. It is made by Junkers, whose works are at Dessau - hence the name of this aeroplane - The Great Dessauer. The cruising speed of the Ju 90 is over two hundred miles an hour.

Click here to see the photogravure supplement to this article.

You can read more on “Air Travel to the Continent”, “Royal Dutch Air Lines” and “World-Wide French Services” on this website.

Germany’s Air Lines