Thessaloniki International Airport, "Makedonia"Edit profile
Thessaloniki International Airport "Macedonia" (Greek: Διεθνής Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Θεσσαλονίκης «Μακεδονία»,Diethnís Kratikós Aeroliménas Thessaloníkis "Makedonía") (IATA: SKG (SaloniKa Greece), ICAO: LGTS), formerly known as Mikra Airport and colloquially referred to today as Macedonia International Airport (Greek: Διεθνές Αεροδρόμιο Μακεδονία), is located about 15 km SE of the city center of Thessaloniki at Thermi, close to the suburb of Peraia and the municipalities of Pylaia and Kalamaria in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The airport is the largest state owned and operated airport in the country. It opened in 1930 and is the third-busiest airport in Greece, serving over 4 million passengers annually. It is the main airport of Northern Greece and serves the city of Thessaloniki (the second-largest city in Greece), the popular tourist destination of Chalkidiki and the surrounding cities of the region.
The airport’s terminal consists of three floors. The ground floor serves arrivals only and is divided into two sections: international arrivals and domestic arrivals. The first floor serves departures and also includes a shopping centre. On this floor there are 34 check-in counters, waiting areas, bars, stores that sell tobacco and magazines and various airlines’ offices. The second floor houses two restaurants and several bars with views to the runways.
The airport has two runways (10-28 and 16-34) and two taxiways. There are 22 stands for narrow-body aircraft and about 20 for light ones. Macedonia International Airport is a hub for Astra Airlines and a secondary hub for Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air.History
During World War I the area that the airport currently occupies was used as an airfield and it continued operating as an airfield during World War II. At the time of the German occupation of Greece major projects took place, such as the creation of a 600m runway, while in 1948 the airport started operations as a civil airport for the first time.
In 1950 the already existing (10/28) runway got paved with asphalt at a length of 1,800m and in 1952 it was extended to 2,000m. It was the same year that the first airport building was completed, with a control tower on the roof. One year later a new runway (16/34) was built. In 1958 the runway 10/28 got reconstructed and extended to a total length of 2,440m (current length), while runway 16/34 was extended to 2,400m, with its completion in 1972. In 2004 a new parallel taxiway of the 16/34, was opened for use.
In September 1965 a new terminal building opened on a new location (current location). In the period between 1968 and 1973, the terminal was expanded, with the construction of a second floor and its first motorway junction. Due to the earthquake of 1978 in Thessaloniki, the control tower was destroyed, so a new one was constructed, independent of the main terminal building. The next expansion of the terminal took place in two stages, with the projects starting in 1991 and 1993 respectively. The municipality of Thessaloniki, as European Capital of Culture for 1997, took over a projects for the aesthetic intervention, renovation, modernisation and reorganisation of the spaces of the building.
The terminal building took its current form, when an additional of 19,000m² were added to the western and eastern side of the terminal building, completed in November 2000 and June 2003 respectively. The western extension included the widening of the international departures area (new Extra-Schengen area ), including new administration offices, a new health station and the new station control of Olympic Airlines. The eastern expansion included a new check-in hall, new waiting halls and additional administrative offices for airlines. Today the terminal has a total floor area of 32,000m². Finally, during 2004-2006 the new motorway junction was completed on the level of the departures entrance of the Terminal and new parking spaces for cars, buses and taxis were created.Airlines and destinations
Passenger and cargo traffic
Between 1994 and 2010, Thessaloniki International Airport saw a rise in passenger traffic equal to 76%, from 2.2 million in 1994 to 3.9 million in 2010. Between 2003 and 2009 the airport saw a passenger traffic increase of 19% from 3.5 million to almost 4.2 million passengers, the airports all-time high. However the number dropped in the two consecutive years, to the current 3.9 million passengers.
Apart from passengers, the airport also handled 8.2 thousand tons of freight in 2010, a considerable drop from the 21.4 thousand tons it handled in 1997.Facilities
Inside the airport there are two restaurants, four coffee-bars and a tobacco store. Furthermore, except from the Duty Free shop, there are stores selling traditional products, jewellery, accessories and clothes. Passengers also can utilize a luggage secure-wrapping service and luggage lockers. An Hellenic Post post office and automated teller machines are available on the passengers’ departure area. There is also an office of the Greek National Tourism Organisation. Finally, car hire companies can be found in the airport such as AVIS, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.Lounges
Macedonia International Airport operates two passenger lounges:
- Aegean Club Lounge, used by business class passengers of Aegean Airlines and Star Alliance Gold members.
- CIP Lounge, used by business class passengers and the gold members of Olympic Air
The airport of Thessaloniki is also the home ground of Aeolus Aviation Academy and Thessaloniki’s Aeroclub, which offer private pilot's training.Access
The airport is served by a 24-hour bus service from the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH). Line 78 (78N during night) starts from Macedonia Central Bus Station (intercity buses terminal), passing by and stopping at the New Railway Station of Thessaloniki (OSE) and then arrives directly at the airport through the city center. Line 78A travels exactly the same route with the difference, that during its route it makes an additional stop at the A.S. IKEA bus station. At the bus stops of the New Railway Station and A.S. IKEA, passengers can find many connections with many other major lines of OASTH.
In September 2010 it was announced that an extension of the under construction Thessaloniki Metro to the airport is under consideration. The manufacturing company considers the possibility of constructing the extension with an over-ground rail-based transportation system, such as a monorail.Car and Taxi
The airport is directly connected with the city's southeast major road arteries and the ΕΟ67, (the Thessaloniki-Chalkidiki motorway), offering direct access via the Thessaloniki ring road to the A1/E75 and A2/E90 motorways; making transportation to and from Macedonia International Airport relatively easy. A total of 2,285 parking spaces for cars exist at the front of the terminal building and taxis are available at the designated taxi waiting area, located outside the arrivals exit. The taxi fare to the city centre is approximately 15-20€.Future
As part of a comprehensive masterplan released by the government in 2002, several projects have been started to improve Macedonia International Airport. Other than the building works on the current terminal, including the construction of a new cargo terminal, the masterplan features two major projects.Runway extension
Phase 1 of the masterplan includes the expansion of existing runway 10/28; and is currently under construction. During the process of the project design, 80 Greek and 5 Danish civil engineers and scientists from other specialties have worked on the project. Both the runway and the taxiway will be extended by 1,150m, 1,000m out into the sea, resulting in a runway that will have a total length of 3,440m with an extra safety distance of 150m. Its width will be 50m while the taxiway’s width, which will be located at an axial distance of 183m from the runway, will be 23m. The new runway and taxiway sections, will be equipped with appropriate lighting and control systems that will extend a further 750m into the sea. The completion date was set for completion in 2011, but due to financial problems of the manufacturing company, reactions of environmental organizations and reactions by the residents of the surrounding areas, fearing ecological dangers by extenting land into the sea, have held the project back and today a new completion date for 2012 has been set. The completion of the runway project will allow for the landing of larger aircraft, such as the Boeing 747 and A380 and increase safety, as the aircraft will have greater flexibility and visual contact, on days with bad weather conditions.Terminal 2
Phase 2 of the masterplan has heralded the construction of a new larger terminal, together with a new apron for 36 aircraft, of which 14 will be stationed at contact place. The second phase of the masterplan will drasticly increase the status of the airport and eliminate existing passenger traffic problems, especially during the summer period. The new terminal will be able to accommodate 8 million passengers per year (in peak hours 2.800 passengers for departures or arrivals) while the terminal’s total area is expected that it will be 115.000m². In December 2010, the Greek government revealed that there are thoughts for the construction of the new terminal through private investing, the same way in which Athens airport was realised. Until now no further official announcement has been issued.Incidents
- On 12 August 1977, Olympic Airways Flight 171 Boeing 727 :SX-CBI overran the runway and crashed into the sea after a flight from Athens. None of the 35 passengers and crew were killed but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
- On 17 December 1997, a Yakovlev Yak-42 of Aerosvit Airlines, operating the route from Odessa, Ukraine to Thessaloniki, lost contact with the airport's air traffic control and during the second attempt the aircraft crashed in the Pierian mountains, near Mount Olympus. A total of 70 people, passengers and crew, 41 of which were Greeks, were killed.
- On 4 July 2000, HA-LCR, a chartered MALÉV Flight 260 Tu-154 landed on its belly. The crew had forgotten to lower the undercarriage and the plane skidded 400 metres (440 yards) on the runway. Thanks to the plane's robust construction and the engines' high position, the plane was able to become airborne again as the pilots applied full throttle. It circled while the crew lowered the undercarriage and landed safely. There were no injuries. It was considered uneconomical to repair the aircraft. The aircraft still remains on site, although airline markings have been obscured and heavily depleted of re-usable spares.
- On 22 January 2010, a SunExpress plane flying from Germany to Turkey carrying 69 passengers made a safe emergency landing in "Macedonia". According to a Greek civil aviation official who declined to be named, the pilot had received a bomb threat call on his mobile phone.