ANYONE who’s flown to Athens in the last 14 years will have landed at Eleftherios Venizelos airport.
But until 2001, there was another hub that used to be the Greek capital’s main airport, before it was unceremoniously abandoned.
Hellinikon is located 4.3 miles south of Athens and was the only international airport in the city for decades.
After it was constructed in the 1930s, one of the airport’s first main uses was a station for the Luftwaffe during the Nazi occupation of Greece.
It was frequently attacked by the allied air forces throughout the Second World War.
It would later be redeveloped after becoming Athens’ most important airport for commercial travel by the 1950s.
It served Greece as a transport hub for half a century after that, but was eventually closed in 2001 after it was unable to handle the country’s travel demands.
The airport was supposed to have a 10million passenger annual capacity, but served 13million people in its final year of service.
Another airport, Eleftherios Venizelos, opened in 2001 and Hellinikon was shut down in March the same year.
A large portion of the site was converted into a stadium complex and hosted several sporting events at the 2004 Olympic Games.
But further development of the site continued to divide opinion among those in charge, before the 2008 economic crash left what remained unchanged.
To this day, abandoned planes from defunct airline Olympic Airways remain parked up at the airport, alongside a disused runway, all of which can be clearly seen on Google Maps.
The site was purchased in 2014 by a consortium of investors, who began work to transform it into a coastal resort filled with hotels, malls, a casino and entertainment complexes.
However, developers were halted by several obstacles and the site had to be used to house refugees during the European migrant crisis, with tents set up throughout the abandoned terminal buildings.
Work to finally complete the transformation was started in 2020, with the Greek government aiming to have it completed by 2025.
The site the airport is on is three times the size of Monaco and is bordered by beaches and a golf club, making it an ideal spot to develop for visiting tourists.
However, developers will not have access to all of the site, with some of the remaining buildings, including the east terminal, listed and prevented from demolition.
Another abandoned London airport once had the only international flights in the UK.
And this UK airport was left abandoned and was left abandoned for over a decade.
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