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Athens International Airport

Athens International near Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH), Attiki Odos, Spata Artemida, Greece

Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" (Greek: Διεθνής Αερολιμένας Αθηνών "Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος", Diethnís Aeroliménas Athinón "Elefthérios Venizélos"; (IATA: ATH, ICAO: LGAV), began operation on 29 March 2001 and is the primary civilian airport that serves the city of Athens and the region of Attica.

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The airport is the major hub and base of Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. The airport serves more than 14 million travellers annually and its name honours the Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos. As of late 2011, the airport is the thirtieth busiest airport in Europe.

The airport was opened in March 2001 to replace the now-closed Athens (Ellinikon) International Airport. The airport is located between the towns of Markopoulo, Koropi, Spata and Loutsa, about 20 km (12 mi) to the east of central Athens (30 km (19 mi) by road, due to intervening hills). The airport is named after Elefthérios Venizélos, the prominent Cretan political figure and Prime Minister of Greece, who made an outstanding contribution to the development of Greek aviation and the Hellenic Air Force in the 1930s.[citation needed]

The airport currently has two terminals: the Main Terminal, and the Satellite Terminal accessible by a foot-tunnel from the Main Terminal. As of 2009, a new above ground link to the midfield satellite terminal is under construction with a completion date by the end of 2010. Once completed, the complex will be used as a Schengen facility. It has two runways that are each approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) long. The airport was developed by public-private partnership with Greece holding 55% of the shares.



The airport is designed to be upgraded over the ensuing years in order to accommodate the increase in air travel, and its upgrades are planned in a six-phase framework. The first (current) phase initially allowed the airport to accommodate 16 million passengers a year, but was upgraded to 21 million passengers a year without progressing to the next phase thanks primarily to IT advances. The sixth phase will allow the airport to accommodate as many as 50 million passengers a year. The current runways are designed to accommodate 50 million passengers a year with the completion of the sixth phase.

The airport has received approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency[6] and the Federal Aviation Administration for take-offs and landings of the biggest passenger jet worldwide, the Airbus A380.[6] The first Airbus A380 to visit 'Eleftherios Venizelos' Athens International Airport made an emergency landing on 13 April 2011 as a passenger suffered a heart attack. The first scheduled A380 flight took place on October 26 from Emirates Airlines.

The Financial crisis of 2007–08 had severely reduced traffic at the airport. United Airlines, Thai Airways, Gulf Air, and Czech Airlines are among the foreign airlines who have left, and Singapore Airlines had relocated its regional hub to Istanbul. Delta Airlines terminated its winter scheduled service to New York City in 2012, leaving Greece without a direct connection to the United States for the first time in almost 70 years. In 2010, the airport handled 15,411,952 passengers, 5% fewer than in 2009.

Main Terminal

The Main Terminal Building handles the all intra-Schengen flights, as well as several non-Schengen flights. All check-in desks are located in the Main Terminal. It has three separate levels, one for arrivals, one for departures and a food court level complete with a view of the eastern runway.

Satellite Terminal

The Satellite Terminal handles non-Schengen flights only. It is easily accessible through an underground link complete with moving walkways. In 2009, part of the Satellite Terminal was closed and a new above ground link to the midfield satellite terminal was completed by the end of 2010. The complex is now used as a Schengen facility. It has two levels, one for arrivals and the other for departures.


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