Thessaloniki Airport "Makedonia"
Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Θεσσαλονίκης "Μακεδονία"
|Owner||Government of Greece|
|Location||Mikra, Macedonia, Greece|
|Elevation AMSL||7 m / 23 ft|
Map of the airport
Thessaloniki Airport (IATA: SKG, ICAO: LGTS), officially Thessaloniki Airport "Makedonia" (Greek: Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Θεσσαλονίκης "Μακεδονία", translit. Kratikós Aeroliménas Thessaloníkis "Makedonía") and formerly Mikra Airport, is an international airport serving Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece. It is located 13 km (8.1 mi) southeast of the city, in Thermi.
The airport is the third-largest airport in the country after Athens International Airport and Heraklion International Airport. It opened in 1930 and was the second-busiest airport in Greece in terms of flights served and the third-busiest in terms of passengers served in 2016, with over 6 million passengers. It is the main airport of Northern Greece and apart from the city of Thessaloniki it also serves the popular tourist destination of Chalkidiki and the surrounding cities of Central Macedonia. The Athens–Thessaloniki route is the tenth busiest in the EU with 1.8 million passengers. To cope with demand, a second terminal is currently under construction as part of a billion-euro investment by Fraport Greece, the company which operates the airport.
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The airport was first established as an airfield during the First World War, as part of the allied war effort on the Macedonian Front. There were numerous airfields at the time, including Little Mikra, Big Mikra (which became the current international airport), and the major military airfield of Sedes. The first international flight to Thessaloniki landed at the Little Mikra air field, and government efforts at encouraging the growth of civil aviation saw the start of construction of a purpose-built civilian airport at the present location in 1938. Works were temporarily abandoned due to the Second World War and the airport opened to civilian traffic in 1948.
Major works were undertaken after the war. The accession of Greece to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation saw NATO-funded investments such as the expansion of the 10/28 runway to 2,440 metres (8,010 ft) and the inauguration of a new terminal building in 1965. Damage to the tower caused by the 1978 Thessaloniki earthquake meant it needed to be torn down, and a new tower, still in operation, was built. Modernisation works were undertaken in the late 1990s, as part of the celebrations for Thessaloniki being European Capital of Culture in 1997. In 1993 the airport took the name Makedonia (Greek: Μακεδονία, Macedonia).
A modernisation and expansion project for runway 10/28 began in 2005, with an initial completion date of 2011, but has since been delayed and is expected to enter service in January 2019. Modernisation projects on the tarmac and other runway are expected to be completed in 2019. The end date for construction works on runway 10/28 was extended to March 2019 and it is expected to enter service at a later date. Overall, the project took almost a quarter century to build, from inception in 1997, and cost has an estimated cost of €179 million ($202 million). When the runway opens for commercial use it will be able to accommodate 89.6% of current commercial aircraft types, as opposed to just 22.6% before the extension.
Years of government mismanagement and lack of investment saw the operational aspect of the airport privatised in 2015. Fraport AG/Copelouzos Group joint venture and the state privatisation fund agreed to the privatisation of the airport operations, and 13 other Greek airports, in December 2015. Fraport Greece will operate the airport for 40 years starting on 11 April 2017. It pledged to invest €400 million ($450.96 million) on the various airports, including a refurbishment of the existing terminal at Thessaloniki as well as the construction of a second terminal. Construction on the new terminal began on 19 September 2018. Fraport expects passenger traffic to increase by 48% by 2026 as a result of its investment.
The airport's terminal consists of three floors. The ground floor serves arrivals only and is divided into two sections: international/extra-Schengen arrivals and domestic/intra-Schengen arrivals. The second floor serves departures and also includes a shopping center. On this floor there are 34 check-in counters, waiting areas, bars, stores and various airlines' offices. The third floor houses two restaurants and several bars with views to the runways. There are two passenger lounges. An additional terminal is to be opened in 2021.
Airlines and destinations
Between 1994 and 2010, Thessaloniki 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 2008 the airport saw a passenger traffic increase of 19.1% from 3.5 million to almost 4.2 million passengers, an all-time high. The number of passengers dropped in next years. However, over the last two years the airport experienced passenger traffic increase to just above four million by 2013. Significant traffic increase took place during 2014, with the total number of passengers exceeding the five million mark for the first time.
|Millions of Passengers 1994–2018|
Traffic by country (2017)
Car and car rental
The airport is directly connected with the city's major road arteries in the southeast, the EO16 and the A25, which connects Thessaloniki with Chalkidiki, via the ΕΟ67. The Thessaloniki Inner Ring Road offers access to the A1/E75 and A2/E90 motorways, making transportation to and from Thessaloniki Airport relatively easy. A total of 2,285 parking spaces for cars exist at the front of the terminal building. A car rental service is available at the terminal building.
There are plans to connect the airport with the Thessaloniki Metro network, which is set to open in phases between 2020 and 2021. Attiko Metro, the company overseeing the project, has published a map of proposed extensions, and it includes an overground extension of Line 2 towards the airport. This extension not an immediate concern for the company, however, since the terminus of Line 2, Mikra, will be connected with the airport by a 10-minute shuttle bus. Detailed planning of the metro extension toward the airport was initiated in March 2019.
The airport is served on a 24-hour basis by bus 01X/01N of the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH), which provides bus services between the Thessaloniki Bus Station (KTEL) and Makedonia airport arrivals/departures. The journey between KTEL and the airport is 49 minutes. As of February 2019, a single bus fare costs €2, or €1 with a discount.
A metered taxi service is available outside the airport terminal building 24-hours. The journey between the Airport and the centre of Thessaloniki is about 30 minutes, depending on traffic. The fare to the city centre is fixed at €20. There is an €8 surcharge for trips ending between midnight and 5 am. Luggage charges are waived.
Accidents and incidents
Media related to Thessaloniki International Airport at Wikimedia Commons