World’s Largest Airport, now Abandoned

Prior to the Euro 2012 football tournament, the airport’s construction, which is reported to have cost £658 million ($860 million), was completed. Prior to a devastating outbreak of hostilities between separatist militants from the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Ukrainian armed forces within the airport, Donetsk Airport had been a key hub for roughly 1.1 million travellers.

Airlines like Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, Air Berlin, Aeroflot, and flydubai provided passenger service. But all carriers were required to cease operations in 2014 when the War in Donbass broke out.

The airport experienced warfare twice in 2014: once in May for one day and once in September for three months before Ukrainian forces withdrew. The outcome is a crumbling structure that is riddled with gunshot holes. Its former terminals and lounges were completely demolished after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, and it was once more a battleground.

Spain’s Ciudad Real Central Airport

The expensive infrastructure endeavour, which cost a staggering £1 billion ($1.3bn) and debuted in 2008 to great fanfare, was doomed to failure from the beginning. The hub was unable to recruit enough airlines to be profitable due to its remote location and completion amid the 2008 global financial crisis and ensuing recession.

Vueling was the last airline to provide regular service to and from the airport before it stopped doing so in 2011. The private airport shut down after filing for bankruptcy a year later.

In 2012, the airport, which could have accommodated up to 10 million passengers yearly, was essentially shut down. Its main building, lone runway, and adjacent tourist area have all been abandoned since then.

In another part of the airport, there is a partially completed walkway that was intended to connect the airport to a station on the high-speed train line that runs between Madrid and Seville. Construction ceased after the airport closed. Additionally, a big parking lot is still completely empty.

Fortunately, things are looking up for the catastrophic ghost airport. After several ownership changes in recent years and an unsuccessful attempt to rebrand as Madrid Airport South, the current owners are thinking about using the facility for tech support and flying instruction.

Greece’s Ellinikon International Airport

Athens’ Ellinikon International Airport was built in 1938 and was the main airport for the city for a long time. It was shut down in 2001 to make place for the brand-new Athens International Airport.

A section of the airport served as a venue for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. Baseball, field hockey, and other sports were played on the northwest corner of the property. The airport even modified a hangar to provide room for basketball matches and numerous fencing tournaments.

Since the Olympics, the former airport has been treated with utter disregard. An ambitious plan to transform it into a municipal park was abandoned during Greece’s budgetary crisis, which effectively bankrupted the country.

After acting as a makeshift refugee camp, the area was leased to a gaming development company with the intention of building a casino inside the defunct airport. The airport now gets a new lease on life as Experience Park thanks to the greatest urban rehabilitation project in Europe.

Airport serving Yasser Arafat in the Palestinian Territories

This important international airport was built with funding from the international community not far from Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip. In 1998, the opening ceremony was attended by Bill Clinton, who was the president of the US at the time.

The airport, which has a capacity of up to 700,000 passengers yearly, is named in honour of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But only a few years later, in 2001, during the Second Intifada, the airport was compelled to close.

During an Israeli bombing raid, the runway, the state-of-the-art terminal building, and the air traffic control tower all sustained serious damage. Israeli bulldozers rapidly surrounded the area and levelled the majority of the remaining structures.

Israeli authorities have turned down proposals to rebuild the airport, which is today a complete ruin and has been completely abandoned.

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