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Athens International Airport ( ) known as "Elefthérios Venizélos", Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος) , which began operation on 29 March 2001, is the civilian airport that serves the city of Athensmarker and the region of Atticamarker. The airport is the major hub and base for Olympic Air, as well as for Aegean Airlines. The airport serves more than 16 million travellers annually and was named after the distinguished Greekmarker statesman Eleftherios Venizelos. The airport has become increasingly popular as a gateway to Asia and the Middle East. It is also known for its continuous investment in pioneering technology, and is Airbus A380 ready, having been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration.

General information

The main terminal building, seen at night.
Main Terminal.


The airport was opened in 2001 to replace the now-closed Athens International Airportmarker. The airport is located between the towns of Markopoulo, Koropi, Spatamarker and Loutsamarker, about to the east of central Athens ( by road, due to intervening hills). The airport is named after Elefthérios Venizélos, the prominent Cretan political figure and Prime Minister of Greece, who made an outstanding contribution to the development of Greek aviation and the Hellenic Air Force in the 1930s.

The airport currently has two terminals: the Main Terminal, and the Satellite Terminal accessible by a foot-tunnel from the Main Terminal. It has two runways that are each approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) long. The airport was developed by public-private partnership with Greece holding 55% of the shares.

The airport is designed to be upgraded over the ensuing years in order to accommodate the increase in air travel, and its upgrades are planned in a six-phase framework. The first (current) phase allows the airport to accommodate 16 million passengers a year; the sixth phase will allow the airport to accommodate as many as 50 million passengers a year. In 2008, the airport handled 16.466.479 passengers, -0.4% than in 2007.

It is also an airport that has received approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration for take-offs and landings of the biggest passenger jet worldwide, the Airbus A380.

Athens International Airport is also among the busiest 30 European airports.

In 2005 and 2006, the Airport was awarded the Skytrax award for best airport in Southern Europe.

Terminals

The Main Departures Screen.


Athens International Airport has two terminal buildings, the Main Terminal and the Satellite Terminal. All check-in desks are located in the Main Terminal, and the Satellite terminal is easily accessible through an underground link complete with moving walkways.

Main Terminal

The Check-in desks.
The Main Terminal Building handles the majority of Extra and Intra Schengen flights, it has three separate levels, one for arrivals, one for departures and a food court level complete with a view of the eastern runway.

Satellite Terminal

The Satellite Terminal handles Extra Schengen flights only. It has two levels, one for arrivals and the other for departures.

Incidents and accidents



Airlines and destinations

Cities with direct international airlinks with Athens International Airport.


Cargo airlines

Ground transport

Road

The airport is accessible by the Attiki Odos toll highway.

Taxi

Taxis are available at the airport.

Rail

A rail station immediately adjacent to the airport terminal (and accessible by an elevated walkway) was completed in time for the 2004 Olympics. The station is served by the Proastiakos suburban train service and the metro.

Bus

Six bus lines (X92, X93, X94, X95, X96, X97) which serve many parts of Athens, such as Piraeusmarker and the terminal bus stations Kiffisos and Liosion are available 24/7 at the lower level of the terminal.

Services and facilities

View of the bridge that connects the airport with the Metro Station; Sofitel Hotel stands in the background.
Athens International Airport also boasts many services and facilities for the convenience of all passengers. Services and Facilities include:
  • Children's Creative Entertainment Centre (Free of charge supervised play area)
  • ATMs (Greek Alpha and Emporiki Banks)
  • Currency Exchange Outlets
  • WSW Skycap Services (Baggage Hauling and Porter Service)
  • Secure Bag Protection (Baggage Wrapping Service)
  • Massage Chairs
  • Hair Salon
  • Travel Agencies
  • Car Rentals (Avis, Budget Rent a Car, Europcar, Hertz, Alamo Rent A Car and Sixt)
  • Baggage storage service
  • Airport business centre
  • Airport Hotel (Sofitel Athens Airport)


The airport hotel, Sofitel Athens Airport, is located adjacent to the Main Terminal outside the Extra/Intra Schengen Arrivals Hall. The 5-star hotel features 345 rooms, 13 suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, 24-hour room service, conference and meeting rooms, an indoor swimming pool, an indoor sauna and a fitness centre.

Awards

  • European Airport of the Year - 2004
  • Skytrax award for best Airport in Southern Europe - 2005,2006 and 2008
  • GreenBuilding Award for its exemplary energy saving figures reflected in the two previous years (2006, 2007) - 2008


Airline lounges

View of section of the exterior of the airport (Departures Level)


Many airline users of Athens International Airport operate luxurious and modern passenger lounges. First and Business Class passengers of the respective airlines and partner alliances can enjoy lounge facilities at the airport. Airline lounges at the airport include:
  • Alitalia 'Donatello' Lounge (Can be used by all of the Sky Teams's Airlines Passengers (including Air France-KLM, Delta, Northwest, Aeroflot, Czech Airlines and Korean Air)
  • Goldair Handling CIP Lounge
  • Aegean Airlines CIP Lounge
  • Lufthansa 'Senator' Lounge (Can be used by all of the Star Alliance Airlines Passengers, including, Thai Airways, United, US Airways)
  • Olympic Air 'Melina Merkouri' Lounge
  • Olympic Air 'Aristotelis Onassis' Lounge
  • British Airways 'Terraces' Lounge (Can be used by American Airlines and Aer Lingus passengers)
  • Swissport 'Executive' Lounge


Robotic security

The airport is equipped with two robotic systems (robots "Hercules" and "Ulysses") capable of handling suspect devices. They are designed to protect the lives of individuals as well as airport spaces by safely identifying and removing explosives.

Hercules was donated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. It is a system capable of the safe collection and transportation of explosives for disposal. It is equipped with a spherical shaped tank with a diameter of 120 cm, and two robotic folding arms.

Ulysses is a system worth €94,000, donated by Soukos Robots ABEE. This system was manufactured in order to serve as a supplement to Hercules. It can access more difficult areas than Hercules such as toilets, buses or aircraft. It is a light but highly efficient robot, equipped with a shock-absorbing system allowing movements on rough surfaces.

References



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