Larnaca Airport was hastily developed towards the end of 1974 after the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey on 20 July of the same year, which forced the closure of Nicosia International Airport. The site on which it was built (near the Larnaca Salt Lake), had been previously used as an airfield in the 1930s and, subsequently, as a military installation by the British forces.
Larnaca International opened on 8 February 1975, with only limited infrastructure facilities and a prefabricated set of buildings comprising separate halls for departures and arrivals. The first airlines to use the new airport were Cyprus Airways using Viscount 800s leased from British Midland and Olympic Airways using NAMC YS-11s. Initially, the runway at Larnaca International was too short for jet aircraft.
The old airport was operating from 8th February 1975 until the 7th November 2009 when the new terminal opened.
Nobody who has travelled to Larnaca in the last 40 years would not feel sentimental at the sight of this airport. Even though the new terminal is stunning, this old airport was the quintessential Cypriot airport.
The old Taxi office was the usual point of contact with cab drivers who used to hang around here playing Tavli, drinking coffee and generally making a Cypriot nuisance of themselves!
The terminal was gradually improved over the years, but as the number of visitors grew, the terminal was eventually bursting at the seams and eventually a new terminal was needed.
After the new terminal opened, the old terminal sat there unused (apart from being used as a private terminal for visiting heads of state, VIPs, and private aircraft operators.
There was a FANTASTIC deal on the table in 2012, a Chinese investor was going to invest FIVE HUNDRED MILLION EUROS to develop the old airport and the deal was even reported as having been signed, but the Cypriot Government dithered so much in their response that the investor pulled out….so the old terminal continues to sit there as a souvenir of the past for the foreseeable future.
(NEWS ARTICLE FROM 23RD MARCH 2012)
The Island’s airport operator Hermes signed a multi-million Euro deal with Chinese company Far Eastern Phoenix early this morning for the redevelopment of the old Larnaca airport facility.