Berlin Air Safety Center

Berlin Air Safety Center

The Berlin Air Safety Center (BASC) came into existence immediately after the close of World War II and was one of only three Cold War, four-power organizations to ever exist, the others being Spandau Prison and Military Liaison Missions.

Its primary purpose involved diplomatically ensuring the safety of allied air traffic into and out of the western sectors of the divided city against the threat of East German or Soviet air defenses.

Formed in the summer of 1945, the BASC existed until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Located in the Allied Control Authority Building, the BASC was manned continuously by American, British, and French military representatives along with two Soviet representatives - a controller and an interpreter. These officers worked in close cooperation to ensure the safety of allied aircraft 24 hours a day.

Coordinating closely with BARTCC (Berlin Air Route Traffic Control Center) air traffic facilities at Tempelhof Airbase, the BASC representatives verified diplomatic clearances, protested Soviet infringements upon allied air corridors, and fielded the political ramifications of east bloc defectors escaping into West Berlin by stolen 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 [] August 14, 2006

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