9 Abandoned Airports And The Tragic Stories Behind Them

Published November 7, 2021
Updated November 10, 2021

The Abandoned Airport Ellinikon, Athens

Ellinikon Airport

gdiakoum/FlickrThis abandoned airport was destroyed in World War II and briefly hosted some Olympic games.

For decades, an airport located on the southern coast of Athens was the only option for travel to, or from, Greece. Ellinikon (or Hellinikon, or Hellenikon) airport was built in the 1930s and fell into ruin after becoming a target for Allied air raids due to the fact that Nazi Luftwaffe used the airport during Germany’s occupation there.

In the post-war 1950s, the government reconstructed Ellinikon, and it became the main hub for travel in Athens once again. This was right when the tourism industry was expanding at an exponential rate. People flocked to Greece for its sunny beaches, historical significance, and architectural wonders.

Ellinikon Airport Runway

Wikimedia Commons

“In the 1990s, the airport had ended up handling well above 10 million passengers [annually],” Vasilis Tsatsaragkos, president of the Olympic Airlines Workers’ Cultural Center, told CNN. “Hellenikon was unable to meet the country’s dynamically increasing tourism needs.”

By 2001, it was simply time for a more modern and roomier airport in the Grecian capital, especially with the Olympics coming to town in 2004. This left Ellinikon to close its doors and become one of today’s many abandoned airports.

However, it wasn’t completely useless just yet. During the Olympic games, the airport hosted baseball, fencing, and other events.

Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.