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The Berlin Air Safety Centre (BASC) was established by the Allied Control Authority Coordinating Committee on the 12 December 1945. Operations began in February 1946 under quadripartite flight rules Paragraph 4. BASC was one of two Cold War, four-power organizations to have existed, the other being Spandau Prisonmarker, until the death of Rudolf Hess on 17 August 1987.

Paragraph 4 of the Rules Begins:"The Berlin Air Safety Centre has been established in the Allied Control Authority Building with the object of ensuring safety of flights for all aircraft in the Berlin area. The Safety Centre regulates all flying in the Berlin Control Zone and also in the corridors extending from Berlin to the boundaries of adjacent control zones".

BASC continued to ensure safety of flight for 24 hours a day with each of the Four Powers being represented by a Chief Controller, with a Deputy and General Duty Controller, all of them Air Force Officers (the Soviet had a controller and an interpreter on duty) until its closing on 31 December 1990 following the lapse of Allied responsibilities in Berlin.

BASC was located in the former Allied Control Authority building on Kleistpark, Berlinmarker.

The BASC coordinated air traffic in and out of Berlin and was responsible for air safety in the three corridors established in 1946 as well as in the the Berlin Control Zone, the airspace within a 20 mile radius of a pillar in the cellar of the Allied Control Authority Building. Each of the three corridors were 20 miles wide and linked Berlin with the Western Zones of Occupation of Germany (later West Germany).

The three corridors were open without restriction only to the Four Power nations, United Kingdom, United States, France and USSR - other nations wishing to use the corridors had first to request and otain permission from BASC.

Coordinating closely with BARTCC (Berlin Air Route Traffic Control Center) air traffic facilities at Tempelhofmarker Airbase, BASC were responsible for logging protests of infringements upon allied air corridors, and fielded the political ramifications of East Block defectors escaping into West Berlin by aircraft.

Tensions reached an understandable high during the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49, though the success of the campaign was in large part due to the coordination carried out within the BASC.

Further reading

  • D.M. Giangreco and Robert E. Griffin, Airbridge to Berlin - The Berlin Crisis of 1948, its Origins and Aftermath (1988), accessed at Harry S. Truman Library & Museum [48148] August 14, 2006

Alliierte in Berlin 1945-1994 by W. Durie.. ISBN 13:978 3 8305 0397-1 2nd edition

Berlin and the British Ally 1945-1990 by Maj Gen Sir Robert Corbett the last GOC British Troops Berlin Area. Published in 1994

Berlin Bulletin Vol.36- Issue No 29

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