Athens, Greece

By Yorgos Karahalis

It’s been over a decade since Athens’ Hellenikon airport closed down after around 60 years of duty as the only airport serving the Greek capital.

 Olympic Airways airplanes are seen at the premises of the former Athens International airport of Hellenikon June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

In 2001, just three years before Athens hosted the Olympic Games, Hellenikon was abandoned in favour of the glitzy new Eleftherios Venizelos airport, constructed to the east of the city. 

What has happened to Hellenikon since then?

Well, the glory days of the airport are long gone.

A station for the airport's limousine service is seen outside the east terminal of the former Athens International Airport of Hellenikon June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Nothing has been done with the property aside from using part of the land to construct a few secondary sports facilities for use during the 2004 Olympics. In turn, these too now stand abandoned.  

The former airport is now surrounded by a wire fence and weeds have taken over wherever they can. One terminal was burnt out by a fire and now sits in ruins – nobody cleaned it up after the incident. 

A view of a burnt building at the West terminal of the former Athens International airport of Hellenikon June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Despite a private security service operating in the area, the building shows evidence of trespassing and looting. Boxes filled with anything from travel tags to piles of boarding passes and other documents are strewn on the floor amidst other debris and garbage.