Fascinating images by Alex Macheras show the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport in Greece

Posted on


This is the once-bustling Greek airport a few miles south of Athens where time now stands still. 

These fascinating – if eerie – photographs of the now-abandoned Hellenikon International Airport were taken by London-based aviation analyst Alex Macheras.

His shots show huge airliners, including a Boeing 747, parked up and gathering dust on the tarmac, while paint peels on crumbling terminal buildings.  

A photo showing an old Olympic Airways Boeing 747-200, Boeing 727, and Boeing 737 on the tarmac and facing the Aegean sea. Alex notes that the airline wasn't able to use the official Olympics five interlocking ring logo, due to copyright laws

A photo showing an old Olympic Airways Boeing 747-200, Boeing 727, and Boeing 737 on the tarmac and facing the Aegean sea. Alex notes that the airline wasn’t able to use the official Olympics five interlocking ring logo, due to copyright laws

Hellenikon International Airport is located a few miles south of Athens and closed in 2001

Hellenikon International Airport is located a few miles south of Athens and closed in 2001

Alex notes that for six decades the airport served as the Greek capital's main hub for commercial airliners, handling around 12 million passengers per year. Above, a kiosk for a 'safe bag' system

Alex notes that for six decades the airport served as the Greek capital’s main hub for commercial airliners, handling around 12 million passengers per year. Above, a kiosk for a ‘safe bag’ system 

The approach to the terminal, Alex said, was 'eerie and resembled an apocalyptic movie set'

The approach to the terminal, Alex said, was ‘eerie and resembled an apocalyptic movie set’

A shot of what was once the entrance to the main departures building, with graffiti now covering the exterior

A shot of what was once the entrance to the main departures building, with graffiti now covering the exterior 

Amazingly, one image shows a stack of inflight magazines on the taxiway, ready to be loaded on to a plane.

Another shows the original waiting-area stickers for British Airways Euro Traveller and Club Europe travellers at a dormant check-in area.   

Writing on his blog, Alex says that for six decades the airport served as the Greek capital’s main hub for commercial airliners, handling around 12 million passengers per year. But it shut in 2001.

The airport, built in 1938, had two terminals, with the west wing reserved for the now-defunct Greek airline Olympic Airways, and the east wing for all other carriers.  

Alex took a shot of an airport sign that provided visitors with taxi fare information

Alex took a shot of an airport sign that provided visitors with taxi fare information

A peek inside a crumbling office building where airline tickets were once processed

A peek inside a crumbling office building where airline tickets were once processed

The airport, built in 1938, had two terminals, with the west wing reserved for the now defunct Greek airline Olympic Airways, and the east for all other carriers

The airport, built in 1938, had two terminals, with the west wing reserved for the now defunct Greek airline Olympic Airways, and the east for all other carriers

Alex came across a stack of inflight magazines left on the taxiway, ready to be loaded on to an Olympic jet

Alex came across a stack of inflight magazines left on the taxiway, ready to be loaded on to an Olympic jet 

The east terminal hall was designed by famed Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, who also designed the TWA terminal at New York’s John F Kennedy airport, which recently reopened as a hotel.

Following the opening of the current Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) in 2001, Alex says that Hellenikon was neglected and is ‘now caught up in years’ worth of bureaucracy and debates surrounding what the airport site should be used for’.  

He adds: ‘Now, almost 20 years since the airports’ closure, the entire site is off-limits to the public for fears of airport buildings, or even aircraft parts, collapsing.

‘Not only are there no concrete plans for the future of the site, but in addition to this, there isn’t any company, firm, nor individual person managing the former hub airport itself — hence its dire, sad state.’

During his privately arranged visit, Alex peeked into former offices, check-in areas and wandered around the crumbling runways. 

Valuable aircraft parts, including engines, were apparently removed prior to the planes being stored.   

Following the opening of the current Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) in 2001, Alex says that Hellenikon was neglected and is 'now caught up in years' worth of bureaucracy and debates surrounding what the airport site should be used for'

ALSO READ :  Ireland's best pubs revealed | Daily Mail Online

Following the opening of the current Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH) in 2001, Alex says that Hellenikon was neglected and is ‘now caught up in years’ worth of bureaucracy and debates surrounding what the airport site should be used for’

The airport's traffic control tower, which Alex says was once responsible for directing the 'busy flow' of aircraft

The airport’s traffic control tower, which Alex says was once responsible for directing the ‘busy flow’ of aircraft

An abandoned Hellenic Air BAC One-Eleven captured by Alex

An abandoned Hellenic Air BAC One-Eleven captured by Alex

Nearer to the main terminal, the original signs point towards the departure building

Nearer to the main terminal, the original signs point towards the departure building

Many photos show rusting Olympic Airways planes. 

They are seen with six rings on their tails as the airline wasn’t able to use the official Olympics five-ring logo, due to copyright laws.

One of the more unusual parts of his visit, Alex said, was when he spotted a hyena scuttling around the site. 

He was told by a local security guard that a raid on a property nearby found a person with illegally kept wild animals from Africa, including hyenas. 

The animals were allegedly taken to the airport site, given that it’s fenced off, and left there. 

Alex mused: ‘Whether this is a true story or not, the security officer seemed very sure of it, and we were definitely face-to-face with something that looked like a hyena.’ 

Summing up his visit, Alex said: 'This was a very unusual experience. To see a marvel of Greek aviation in such a dire state was sad, but at the same time, extraordinary'

Summing up his visit, Alex said: ‘This was a very unusual experience. To see a marvel of Greek aviation in such a dire state was sad, but at the same time, extraordinary’

Alex says that Hellenikon Airport can usually be seen from the left side of an aircraft, before a final approach into Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH)

Alex says that Hellenikon Airport can usually be seen from the left side of an aircraft, before a final approach into Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH)

While he walked through the terminals, Alex said 'doors were creaking from the light wind, and our footsteps were disturbing territory that hadn't been touched in decades'

While he walked through the terminals, Alex said ‘doors were creaking from the light wind, and our footsteps were disturbing territory that hadn’t been touched in decades’

Summing up his visit, Alex said: ‘This was a very unusual experience. To see a marvel of Greek aviation in such a dire state was sad, but at the same time, extraordinary.

‘Books and folders were still open on pages that were bookmarked over 20 years ago. There were often moments that were eerie and creepy, walking around the airport areas, it resembled something apocalyptic. 

‘While we were walking through the terminals, doors were creaking from the light wind, and our footsteps were disturbing territory that hadn’t been touched in decades.

‘The stored Olympic jets was a reminder of how aviation was, but also how far we’ve come in what is a relatively young industry. 

‘When you’re next flying to Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH), be sure to keep an eye out during descent for Hellenikon Airport, which can usually be seen from the left side of the aircraft, before final approach.’       

Alex noticed that the ‘safe bag system’ advertisement is still on display, showing pricing in Greek Drachma, the currency replaced by the Euro in 2001

Alex noticed that the ‘safe bag system’ advertisement is still on display, showing pricing in Greek Drachma, the currency replaced by the Euro in 2001

Alex says: 'Anyone exploring this area south of Athens may be surprised to discover the old-airport sign is still signposted by road, including signs to divide traffic into International, Domestic and Arrivals'

Alex says: ‘Anyone exploring this area south of Athens may be surprised to discover the old-airport sign is still signposted by road, including signs to divide traffic into International, Domestic and Arrivals’

Inside the terminal, Alex took this photo showing how the original stickers for British Airways Euro Traveller and Club Europe check-in desks are still visible

Inside the terminal, Alex took this photo showing how the original stickers for British Airways Euro Traveller and Club Europe check-in desks are still visible

Alex stands for a photo in front of an abandoned aircraft named Olympic Eagle

Alex stands for a photo in front of an abandoned aircraft named Olympic Eagle



Source link

Recommended for you