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The Greek airport that was left to fall apart

The Greek airport that was left to fall apart

Old Jun 13, 20, 10:12 am
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The Greek airport that was left to fall apart

(CNN) After months of shutdown, Athens International Airport is gearing up to "welcome the world" once again as Greece moves ahead with plans to gradually lift coronavirus restrictions in a bid to revive its key tourism industry.

But while authorities hope the phased return of international travel from June 15 will eventually bring the arrival halls of the Eleftherios Venizelos hub roaring back to life, a few kilometers to the west, another airport will remain eerily quiet -- as it has for much of the last 20 years.



Located on the southern Athenian coast on a site roughly three times the size of Monaco, Hellenikon -- which translates to "the Greek" -- was for decades the only international airport in Athens.

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/amp/g...ort/index.html
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Old Jun 13, 20, 10:55 am
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Great pictures, it looks very eerie. Unfortunately I didn't really start flying until a few years ago, so I missed out on a chance to visit this airport.

One thing I don't particularly like about the current ATH is that it's quite a long journey to the city. How long did it used to take to get into the heart of the city from the old airport, and did the metro go there?
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Old Jun 13, 20, 10:58 am
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I simply wonder who at CNN considered this a piece of news after 20 years! Actually, even for Americans, this is nothing new: for example, about 10 years earlier than closure of the old HER, DEN (Stapleton) was closed and, like Athens, it was replaced by a brand-new airport.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 11:03 am
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It is been like that for years...
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Old Jun 13, 20, 11:06 am
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HER to the centre of Athens (Syntagma square) is about 31 km. Not that long compared to some other major airports I've been to The old airport was about 15 km away, though, and if you were lucky to live in Kalamaki, Glyfada, Alimos, Faliro, etc., you're only chance to have a decent life was to move away...
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Old Jun 13, 20, 11:08 am
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It’s cool that you can see it on Google Maps, and even the 747 on street view.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I simply wonder who at CNN considered this a piece of news after 20 years! Actually, even for Americans, this is nothing new: for example, about 10 years earlier than closure of the old HER, DEN (Stapleton) was closed and, like Athens, it was replaced by a brand-new airport.
There's a thing on American television these days with these (sort of) documentaries about abandoned places.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by headingwest View Post
Great pictures, it looks very eerie. Unfortunately I didn't really start flying until a few years ago, so I missed out on a chance to visit this airport.

One thing I don't particularly like about the current ATH is that it's quite a long journey to the city. How long did it used to take to get into the heart of the city from the old airport, and did the metro go there?
There was no metro to the old airport back then in fact there was no metro at all . There was only one electric line at the time from Piraeus to Kifissia which still exists today. It used to take me just 25 mins from the old airport to Piraeus. A taxi was around 10 in todays money. There were a few buses that ran just outside the West Terminal airport entrance. A1 if I remember correctly served Piraeus.

The East Airport Terminal was not as nice as the Olympic West Terminal and not as handy ( well for me at least). Also to get between the two there were no buses so if you had a connecting flight ( Foreign airline to OA ) you had to get a taxi.

By the mid 90s it had reached a point where capacity was an issue and it was an outdated facility compared to other airports around Europe. Still I have fond memories as a child and teen flying in and out. The old style announcements and solari arrival and departure boards. It had a certain character lost in todays clinical shopping centre style airports. It belonged to a time when people put on their Sunday best to travel and a era of travel long gone. I have visited the site and inside the old aircraft a few years ago. It was a step back in time. Hopefully they manage to maintain the idea of the museum with the thousands of pieces of memorabilia. They are a reminder of what was and an important part of Greek aviation history.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 2:35 pm
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A few years ago, I took public transport to the station "Hellenikon" to stroll around the area and it was very interesting and sad at the same time to see the place. Especially if you see airplanes still left on the tarmac.

Some pictures I took back then. I must admit I over-edited them too much.






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Old Jun 13, 20, 4:32 pm
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I heard the license was just issued to demolish the buildings... 🙄
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Old Jun 13, 20, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by giorginho View Post
I heard the license was just issued to demolish the buildings... 🙄
There are numerous buildings on the site only one is of historical importance. The cargo and catering buildings are definitely going as are the customs and admin buildings. The West side is totally going as are the Olympic Aviation hangers and catering buildings.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 7:06 pm
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Actually managed to find this old music video I remember from late 80s on Youtube. It has some good interior views of the Olympic West Terminal.


Forgive the cheesy video and song
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Old Jun 13, 20, 9:00 pm
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In a general sense of nostalgia, the old airport does indeed bring back memories, including childhood ones. Mine go back to the early 60s when I saw the initial "plans" published in a magazine on architecture ("Αρχιτεκτονική"). The so-called New Airport was designed by the famous architect Eero Saarinen, it was finished during the junta and was "renamed" Eastern Airport (not terminal!) a few years later. In the 70s, the Saarinen building was turned into a departures only facility with an arrivals-building roughly following the same architectural style having been added. But when I think about the Hellenikon airport (the old Hassani Air Force base), I also remember (as I was then living in Heraklion) how glad I was when, for my numerous long hauls, I had the opportunity to use non-stop flights to places like AMS, FRA, LHR, etc. and often spend the night there waiting for a given connection, thus bypassing ATH this way! The need to avoid ATH and its disastrous over-crowded and dark facilities was exacerbated by the frequent delays of OA flights to/from HER and the need to take a cab between the two terminals or a city bus that was running every hour or so through the centre of Glyfada (about one hour for ~6 km); this often caused one to be left stranded in ATH looking for alternative flights. God was I glad when they finally closed it down. Good riddance!
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Old Jun 14, 20, 9:28 am
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brings a smile to my face--back then "0" security --once my wife was leaving and boarded her flight-- She forgot something and they just let me on the plane to give it to her --those were the good? old days
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Old Jun 14, 20, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by SPLP007 View Post
brings a smile to my face--back then "0" security --once my wife was leaving and boarded her flight-- She forgot something and they just let me on the plane to give it to her --those were the good? old days
Very true. As a kid I flew UMNR and on arrival a family member used to casually walk past the army guards with machine guns to meet me and the OA ground staff member in the baggage hall. In many ways rather then advance we have gone backwards. Especially when you look at todays world!
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