Ten abandoned airports around the world (pictures)

Interior spaces of the abandoned airport of Nicosia.

Not all airports are brimming with passengers racing to catch a flight to a sunny beach spot or returning from a city break. Some airport terminals you'll find completely empty and gathering dust after they closed down or were abandoned due to a bigger and better airport being built.

While Heathrow and Gatwick are discussing plans to expand and see more travellers passing through their gates, there are other international airports around the world that lay derelict and haven't seen a plane land or a passenger depart in years.

Nicosia Airport's cafes and gift shops stand empty in the derelict terminal building, and a blanket of dust covers the departure lounge seats. Gaza Airport ceased operation in 2001 after the radar station and control tower were bombed by Israel Defense Forces, but staff continued to man the ticket counters and baggage areas until 2006, even though no planes flew in and out of the airport.

In the UK, Croydon Airport was the world's first international terminal but were replaced by Northolt Aerodrome, London Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. Today the terminal building is Grade II listed and the old control tower houses a visitor's centre.

From a deserted and dangerous airport in Hong Kong, which reopened as a cruise terminal, to a forgotten terminal in South Africa, which last served the 2010 World Cup's footballers, see pictures of abandoned airports around the world...

Abandoned airports around the world
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Ten abandoned airports around the world (pictures)
Hellinikon Airport was the international airport of Athens for 60 years until 2001 when the new Athens International Airport opened. Before it closed, the airport, located four miles south of Athens, served 12 million passengers a year. After its closure, Hellinikon's runways were converted into a sports park for the 2004 Summer Olympics and in 2011, the Olympic Airways Museum opened in the West Terminal.
Cuidad Real International Airport's terminal building stands dormant after closing in April 2012, when all scheduled flights ceased to operate to or from it. The large international airport, which was completed in 2009 at a cost of 1.1 billion euros, was intended to serve both Madrid and the Andalucían coast, but lack of demand driven by Spain’s economic crisis saw its closure after just three years.

Kai Tak Airport was Hong Kong's international airport from 1925 until 1998. While it was in operation, the airport was voted one of the most dangerous in the world, as landings were technically demanding for pilots, with its only runway jutting out into Victoria Harbour and aircrafts making low descents over the rooftops of the city. But 15 years after lying idle, the airport opened as a new cruise terminal in 2013, which will be able to accommodate two mega cruise ships with a gross tonnage of up to 220,000 tonnes.

The abandoned airport of Nicosia is now the headquarters of United Nations following its closure after the Turkish invasion in 1974. Cafes and gift shops stand empty in the derelict terminal building, and the departure lounge seats have a blanket of dust, while glass shards from the lights and windows cover the floors. Outside the terminal building rests an old Cyprus Airways Trident jet stripped of its engines.

Built in the 1920s, Berlin's Tempelhof Airport was one of Europe's iconic pre-World War II airport. It was once among the top 20 largest buildings in the world, but housed the world's smallest duty-free shop. Today, the airport's outdoor space is a public park, with a six-kilometre cycling, skating and jogging trail, a BBQ area, a dog-walking field and an enormous picnic area for visitors.

Yasser Arafat International Airport, which was formerly Gaza International Airport, opened in 1998 but ceased operation in 2001 after the radar station and control tower was bombed by Israel Defense Forces. After it was destroyed, Gaza Airstrip was the only serviceable runway in Gaza. Even after the airport closed, airport staff manned the ticket counters and baggage areas until 2006, although no planes flew in and out of the airport.
Located 717 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, Johnston Atoll Airport is not only set on one of the most isolated atolls in the world - but is also abandoned after it was shut down in 2005 after serving as a US military base for most of the 20th century. It was attacked by Japanese submarines in World War II and the runway has not been maintained but is used in emergencies.
Durban's old international airport now stands empty after the new King Shaka International Airport opened in 2010 for the World Cup. The airport, which opened in 1951, suffered from low international passenger numbers and its runway was too short for the Boeing 747 to take off. Today it stands abandoned and while plans have not been made for its future use, it is believed the site will be used for industrial development.

The world's first international terminal was housed at Croydon Airport in England from the earliest days of air transport when it opened in 1928 until it closed in 1959. Much of the site has been built over and the former terminal building is called Airport House. The runways are now just a small area of tarmac in Roundshaw Park, used mainly by walkers and model aircraft enthusiasts.

New York's first municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field, opened in 1931 and was named after naval aviator and Brooklyn resident Floyd Bennett, the first person to fly over the North Pole. The airport was a point of departure for record-breaking flights of famous aviators including Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes. Today, cars use the former runway and the airport is a park which houses the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project, an impressive collection of restored aircrafts, giving visitors the chance to get up close to amazing planes.


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