Ellinikon International Airport
Ellinikon International Airport , sometimes spelled Hellinikon (Greek: Ελληνικόν) was the international airport
International airport
An international airport is any airport that can accommodate flights from other countries and are typically equipped with customs and immigration facilities to handle these flights to and from other countries...

 of Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 for sixty years up until 2001 when it was replaced by the new Athens International Airport. It is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) south of Athens, and just west of Glyfada
Glyfada is a suburb of Athens, situated in the southern parts of the Athens Metropolitan Area. The area, which is home to many of Greece's millionaires, ministers and celebrities, stretches out from the foot of the Hymettus mountain and reaches out to embrace the Saronic Gulf. It is the largest of...

. It was named after the village of Elliniko (Elleniko), now a suburb of Athens.

The airport had two terminals; the west terminal for Olympic Airways and the east terminal for international flights. Its IATA code of ATH is now used at Eleftherios Venizelos airport. It is bounded by residential houses, beaches in the west and in the south by the wooded trees of the Glyfada Golf Club along with the Ellinikon
Ellinikon is a suburb of Athens, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Elliniko-Argyroupoli, of which it is a municipal unit....

Glyfada is a suburb of Athens, situated in the southern parts of the Athens Metropolitan Area. The area, which is home to many of Greece's millionaires, ministers and celebrities, stretches out from the foot of the Hymettus mountain and reaches out to embrace the Saronic Gulf. It is the largest of...

 municipal boundary.

After its closure to passenger traffic, the northwest portion of the airport was redeveloped, with runways being converted into a sports park
Helliniko Olympic Complex
The Helliniko Olympic Complex is situated at Ellinikon on the east coast of Greece south of Athens, approximately 16 kilometres from the Olympic Village. It was built on the site of the former Ellinikon International Airport for the staging of the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Paralympics...

 that housed the venues for canoe/kayak slalom, field hockey, baseball, and softball during the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

. Other Olympic-related upgrades to the airport included refitting one of the airport's western hangars to become the main Olympic fencing venues and one of the larger Olympic indoor basketball arenas. Although these massive upgrades changed the northern and western portions of Ellinikon, part of the runway still exists and there is a chance that it will remain in use as a general aviation airport (with a significantly reduced runway). The Athens radar centre is also still based there.
There are three aeroplanes for Olympic Airways in west terminal.

In 2005, the international team led by architects David Serero
David Serero (architect)
- Biography :He was born in 1974 in Grenoble. He graduated with a Master in Architecture and Urban planning from Columbia University and with an Architecture Degree from Ecole d’architecture Paris-Villemin. He lives and works in Paris and in New York....

, Elena Fernandez and landscape architect Philippe Coignet won the international competition to design a metropolitan park on the former site of the Hellenikon Airport, over more than 300 teams of architects.

The competition was sponsored by UIA (International Union of Architects
International Union of Architects
The International Union of Architects is an international non-governmental organization that represents over a million architects in 124 countries. The UIA was founded in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1948. The General Secretariat is located in Paris...

), the Greek Ministry of Environment and the Organization for the Planning and Environmental Protection of Athens (ORSA). The project was further developed in 2006 and 2007 by this team trough two development phases with the planning organizations of Athens.

Serero’s team developed a strategy to landscape and urbanize the 530 hectares of the Hellenikon site by using natural running water patterns on the site as a concept to design the largest sustainable park in Europe. The water used by the park is effectively originating up to 80% of water collected naturally on the site. The project is structured by seven North-South green valleys that are called “Softscapes”
Softscape refers to the elements of a landscape that comprise live, horticultural elements. Softscaping can include, flowers, plants, shrubs, trees, flower beds, etc. This is a term that has been popularized in recent pop culture on television shows such as Home & Garden Television...

. The “Softscapes” are irrigated corridors that channel and collect rainwater of the site and from the water catchment
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 basin of the surrounding hills. These strips integrate a playful work on artificial topography that both guides the water and create terraces and slopes for the park activities and programs.Today, the main terminal is used for exhibitions and concerts.
On April 2011 was born the new Olympic Airways Museum in the old terminal west of O.A.


The airport was built in 1938, and after the Nazi invasion of Greece in 1941, Kalamaki Airfield was used as a Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 air base during the occupation. Following the end of World War II, the Greek government allowed the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to use the airport from 1945 until 1993. Known as Hassani Airport in 1945, it was used by the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 as early as 1 October 1945, as a base of operations for Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its mission was to meet the urgent demand for the speedy reinforcement of the United States' military bases worldwide during World War II, using an air supply system to supplement surface transport...

 flights between Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and points in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. In 1963, the Finnish
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 star architect Eero Saarinen
Eero Saarinen
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect and industrial designer of the 20th century famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism.-Biography:Eero Saarinen shared the same birthday as his father,...

 designed the East Terminal building.

With the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, it was agreed to end the USAF presence at the airport and the United States closed its facilities in 1993.

Prior to closing its passenger service, the airport was serving 12 million passengers per year. The last departure from this airport was an Olympic Airways flight to Thessaloníki.


During the 1970s and 1980s, the airport was a major site for attacks relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

  • June 21, 1959: The C-54 was returning to Canada after a transport flight to Egypt on behalf of the United Nations. A tire burst on landing. A fuel line ruptured and a fire erupted.

Crashed on approach.
  • December 12, 1969: Ethiopian Airlines
    Ethiopian Airlines
    Ethiopian Airlines , formerly Ethiopian Air Lines, often referred to as simply Ethiopian, is an airline headquartered on the grounds of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It serves as the country's flag carrier, and is wholly owned by the Government of Ethiopia...

     Shortly after the Ethiopian plane took off from Madrid for Rome, a Yemeni hijacker entered the cockpit waving a pistol and ordered the pilot to fly to Aden. The pilot said that he would need to refuel at Rome, but the flight was not allowed to land there. A security guard went to the cockpit and killed the hijacker. An accomplice armed with a knife ran forward but he was killed by another security guard before he could reach the cockpit. The airplane landed safely at Athens.
  • October 12, 1972: Olympic Airways en from Corfu
    Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

     to Athens
    Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

    , Crashed in sea while approaching Athens in reduced visibility.
  • August 5, 1973: Two Palestinian
    Palestinian people
    The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

     gunmen claiming to represent Black September
    Black September (group)
    The Black September Organization was a Palestinian paramilitary group, founded in 1970. It was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and fatal shooting of a West German policeman, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, their most publicized event...

     fire on travelers in a crowded TWA
    Trans World Airlines
    Trans World Airlines was an American airline that existed from 1925 until it was bought out by and merged with American Airlines in 2001. It was a major domestic airline in the United States and the main U.S.-based competitor of Pan American World Airways on intercontinental routes from 1946...

     passenger lounge, killing five and wounding fifty-five.
  • September 8, 1974: TWA Flight 841
    TWA Flight 841 (1974)
    On September 8, 1974, a Boeing 707-331B operating as TWA Flight 841 took off from Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv en route to JFK International Airport, New York City. It was scheduled to land in Athens, followed by Rome, and then proceed to New York. After stopping for 68 minutes in...

    , en route from Ellinikon to Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

    , crashed 18 minutes after take-off in what was later determined to be a bombing.
  • June 27, 1976: Air France Flight 139, en route from Tel Aviv
    Tel Aviv
    Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

     to Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

     via Ellinikon, was hijacked to Benghazi
    Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

     and Entebbe
    Entebbe is a major town in Central Uganda. Located on a Lake Victoria peninsula, the town was at one time, the seat of government for the Protectorate of Uganda, prior to Independence in 1962...

  • October 8, 1979: a Swissair
    Swissair AG was the former national airline of Switzerland.It was formed from a merger between Balair and Ad Astra Aero , in 1931...

     flight en route from Geneva
    Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

     to various cities in the Orient via Ellinikon, operated by a 1967-build Douglas DC8 named Uri, landing at night, touched down 740m after crossing the threshold, with an airspeed of 146 knots. The jetliner went off the end of the runway and crashed on a public road, with the tail and left wing ripped off. Post-crash fire claimed the lives of 14 passengers.
  • June 14, 1985: TWA Flight 847
    TWA Flight 847
    TWA Flight 847 was an international Trans World Airlines flight which was hijacked by Lebanese Shia extremists, later identified as members of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, on Friday morning, June 14, 1985, after originally taking off from Cairo. The flight was en route from Athens to Rome and then...

    , en route from Ellinikon to Rome, was hijacked to Beirut
    Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

     and Algiers
    ' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

  • November 14, 1985: EgyptAir Flight 648
    EgyptAir Flight 648
    EgyptAir Flight 648 was a Boeing 737-200 airliner, registered SU-AYH, hijacked on November 23, 1985 by the terrorist organization Abu Nidal. The subsequent raid on the aircraft by Egyptian troops resulted in dozens of deaths, making the hijacking of Flight 648 one of the deadliest such incidents in...

    , en route from Ellinikon to Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

    , was hijacked to Malta
    Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...


The airport was also the destination point of two attacked aircraft:
  • August 29, 1969: TWA Flight 840
    TWA Flight 840 (1969)
    TWA Flight 840 was a Trans World Airlines flight from Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport in Rome, Italy to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, that was hijacked on 29 August 1969...

    , en route from Rome to Ellinikon, was hijacked by PFLP terrorists to Damascus
    Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

  • April 2, 1986: The same route, TWA Flight 840
    TWA Flight 840 (1986)
    Trans World Airlines Flight 840, registration N54340, was a Boeing 727-231 flying en route from Rome's Fiumicino Airport to Athens. A bomb was detonated on the aircraft while it was over Argos, Greece, ejecting four American passengers to their deaths below. Five others on the aircraft were...

    , also from Rome to Ellinikon, was bombed, resulting in four people being sucked out of the plane to their deaths. The plane landed safely.

Film use

The 1986
1986 in film
-Events:*April 12 - Actor Morgan Mason marries The Go-Go's Belinda Carlisle.*April 26 - Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger marries television journalist Maria Shriver.*May - Actress Heather Locklear marries Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee....

 Menahem Golan
Menahem Golan
Menahem Golan is an Israeli director and producer. He has produced movies for such stars as Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Charles Bronson, and was known for a period as a producer of comic book-style movies like Masters of the Universe, Superman IV:...

 movie, The Delta Force
The Delta Force (film)
The Delta Force is a 1986 American action film starring Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin as leaders of an elite squad of Special Forces troops based on the real life U.S. Army Delta Force unit. It was directed by Menahem Golan and featured Martin Balsam, Joey Bishop, Robert Vaughn, Steve James, Robert...

, used the exterior of the airport in the Athens International Airport scene which one of the Lebanese terrorists exits a taxi.

External links

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