Buzzfeed News has published a pictorial news article of what an abandoned airport looks like. The images are of the Nicosia International Airport in the UN Buffer Zone on Cyprus.
The airport was originally built as RAF Nicosia in the 1930’s. A passenger terminal was built in 1949 and replaced with a new one in 1968. During the war in 1974 there was heavy fighting in the area around the airport.
This led the United Nations peace keeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) commander at the time, General Prem Chand from India to take over the airport and declare it a United Nations Protected Area (UNPA). With UN HQ and the agreement of both sides UNFICYP took over the airport under the following conditions:
“The UNPA included the whole of the airport complex, including the premises of RAF Nicosia and the UN camps.
Neither side was to approach within 500 metres of this perimeter. When ceasefire lines were drawn on 16 August 1974, the area declared as a United Nations Protected Area (UNPA) was included within the buffer zone.”
The airport has remained a UNPA since 1974.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 29, 2018
The last commercial flights took place in 1977 with UN special authorisation when 3 Cyprus Airways aircraft were retrieved by British Airways engineers.
“Extensive efforts were made during 1993 and 1994 to reach an agreement on a series of confidence-building measures aimed at spurring a return to normal conditions on the island. A key element in the action was an attempt to reopen Nicosia International Airport for the equal benefit of both communities.
“By mid-1994, however, agreement on the measures remained beyond reach, and despite further talks between both communities, the airport remains closed.”
The airport houses the UNFICYP. UN helicopters are also based at the airport.
The photo essay can be found here.
Note: The direct quotes are from the UNFICYP web site.