The painful International Airport in Nicosia

In June 1974 plans were in place for the terminal to be extended and the apron to be enlarged to 16 aircraft of which two places were to be for wide bodied aircraft. But this was never to happen

Image Dimitris Sideridis (2)
Nicosia International Airport: The derelict building / Image: Dimitris Sideridis

On 15 July 1974 right wing Greek nationalists overthrew the democratically elected president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. Nicosia Airport was briefly closed, then used on 17 July 1974 to ferry troops from Greece to Cyprus to support the coup against Makarios.

On 18 July was it allowed to reopen to civilian traffic, becoming a site of chaotic scenes as holidaymakers and other foreign nationals tried to leave the island.

On 20 July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, bombing the airport heavily and forcing its permanent closure.

Nicosia Airport, Old & New / Image: Press Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus

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Two empty Cyprus Airways airliners were destroyed on the ground of International Airport by the Turkish Air Force during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Nicosia International Airport was officially inaugurated in 1968, with the addition of a modern terminal building boasting high-tech facilities and a multitude of restaurants and shops. By 1973, it had reportedly served nearly 800,000 passengers.

Image: FotoCine Cyprus


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