Hellenic Success Athens International Airport, built in just 51 months is one of the fastest growing airports in Europe Editor: Mr. Rustu Soydan

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Hellenic Success
Athens International Airport, built in just 51 months is one of the fastest growing airports in Europe
Editor: Mr. Rustu Soydan
A 2.2 billion Euro investment, the new Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” was built in a record time of 51 months and opened March 28th, 2001. AIA holds top positions in the world for the last four years in Overall Passenger Satisfaction – in its airport size category – according to the IATA Global Airport Monitor and AETRA surveys.
AIA is considered a pioneer international Public-Private Partnership of its type in the world, being the first major greenfield airport constructed with the participation of the private sector. ‘Athens International Airport S.A.’ is the privately managed company responsible for the operation, management and development of the airport for a 30-year concession period initiated in 1996. The Greek State holds 55% of shares, while the private shareholders collectively hold 45%.
Distinguished as one of the best airports in the world in the first four years of operation (2nd in Europe / 2nd in the world in its category – 5-15 million pax. p.a., the new Athens International Airport offers a wide range of services and facilities.
AIA is also the first Greek airport with an environmental department that has been certified since December 2000 according to the international environmental standard EN ISO 14001 for environmental management and services.
Among Athens International Airport’s Services…

  • More than 35 top-quality shops and 12 restaurant-bars

  • Wireless Internet Services

  • Fully equipped Business Centre

  • Eight dedicated lounges for airlines’ Business and First Class passengers

  • The 5-star Sofitel Hotel

  • Airport Museum: The exhibition of archaeological findings

  • Travel Agencies

  • 6 car rental companies

  • Full range of currency exchange, bank, and post services

  • Parking facilities; A total of 4,800 parking lots


  • Airport’s total land area: 17.5 km2

  • Two independent parallel runways of approx. 4 km each

  • Main Terminal & Satellite Buildings spread over an area of 180,000 m2

  • 89 aircraft parking stands

  • 24 passenger boarding bridges

  • 48 gates

  • 144 check-in counters

  • 11 luggage-claim conveyor belts (hourly capacity 7,000 items)

  • Commercial area: 7,000 m2 capacity (during the first phase of operation)

  • Up to 16 million passengers and 220,000 tons of cargo per annum

  • 600 aircraft movements a day

  • 65 landings-takeoffs an hour

Expansion potential at the final stage of development: up to 50 million passengers Constructing Special Facilities and Technical Overlays.


The suburban rail link system and the Metro running between the Port of Piraeus, the Athens city centre and the Airport was launched prior to the Games. AIA carried out the design and construction of the station and it is run by the Airport Company.


The Express Facility was designed to allow for independent processing and remote check-in of the Olympic & Paralympic Family, within the objective of offering quick processing times, as well as for security reasons. It also served as contingency for the existing main passenger terminals.


28 additional check-in counters, 4 new bus gates and 14 extra screening points were created enhancing the terminals’ efficiency. Moreover, 7 new retail and restaurant outlets were introduced and new flight information display monitors were installed throughout the terminals, providing real-time flight information, guidance and dynamic signage.


On August 30th, 2004, the day of the highest departures peak following the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games, AIA handled efficiently 856 aircraft movements, 68,300 passengers, and 60,000 luggage items, all being historical records for Athens International Airport. In addition, during the specific day, 85% of flights were performed on time (delayed not more than 30 min).

During August, the peak Olympic Games month the airport reached the highest traffic levels ever, both in terms of aircraft movements (20,589), as well as passengers (1,581,683). Despite these increased traffic levels, the average check-in queuing time dropped from 9.5 to 7 minutes.

With 11.5% passenger traffic increase year-on-year, corresponding to 13.7 million passengers, 2004 has been a record year for Athens International Airport. Annual uplifted cargo rose by 8.4%, reaching 119,000 tons with the total numbers of operated flights, i.e. 191,000 (+12.3%).

In total, for 2004, domestic passenger traffic experienced a spectacular rise, with 5.1 million passengers, an increase of 17%.
Furthermore, international traffic reached 8.5 million passengers (+8.4%). Analytically, the largest growth was recorded in the American market (+20.9%), the Middle East market (+13.9%), and the African market (+13%).
In 2004, AIA posted an average increase of 400 flights per week and attracted 7 new airlines 5 of which are low cost carriers. The entrance of new carriers in the Athens market and the introduction of additional frequencies led in 2004 to a 50.9% increase in low-cost services and a 40.7% increase in the corresponding passenger traffic, which represents 9% of AIA’s international traffic.
This dynamic development places “Eleftherios Venizelos” in 3rd position among Europe’s fastest growing major airports, (airports with more than 10 million passengers annually), as per Airports Council International (ACI) traffic results [Jan-Nov 2004].

Source: Press Office, Athens Int’l Airport

Airport Cities”

From Airport to Airport Cities

March-April 2005

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