Nicosia International Airport

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Nicosia International Airport (IATA NIC} is an abandoned airport. It lies to the west of the Cypriot capital city of Nicosia.

NIC used to be the principal airport for Cyprus from its initial construction in the 1930s as the Royal Air Force station RAF Nicosia until 1974. At first it acted principally as a military airport. During the second world war the airport's facilities and runway were extended by J&P. American bombers used the runway in 1943-44 when returning from the allied bombings of Romanian Ploieşti oil fields.[1]

The RAF quit the airfield in 1966 due to limited space brought on by vastly increasing civilian aircraft movements. The purpose-built passenger terminal that stands empty today was completed in 1968.

As a result of the Turkish invasion in 1974, Turkey came to occupy 37% of the island, splitting Cyprus into a de facto Turkish-administered northern sector and the remaining southern areas controlled by the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus. NIC lies directly in the United Nations controlled Buffer Zone separating the two areas. It has been inoperable since 1974 due to the continued state of belligerency between the two sides.

Nicosia's two sectors (the Turkish North and the Greek South) are served by different and more recently opened airports: "Ercan (Tymvou) International Airport" for the north, and both Paphos International Airport (PFO) and Larnaca International Airport (LCA) for the south. Due to the non-recognition of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", Ercan is not permitted by most countries to be a valid destination for a flight plan. The only international flights from Ercan are to Turkey.

There have been some plans for NIC to be reopened under United Nations control as a goodwill measure, but so far neither the Greek nor the Turkish Cypriots have seriously pursued this option. The airport is currently under the control of UNFICYP, and serves as the force's headquarters. Parts of the runway and aircraft hangars are used by UN patrol helicopters whilst another part of the airfield ramp has been converted into a makeshift go-kart circuit for use by UN personnel stationed there.

Incidents and Accidents

  • On March 3, 1956 a Handley Page Hermes (a Hermes IV G-ALDW operated by Skyways Limited) was destroyed on the ground when an explosion (caused by a time-bomb) occurred 20 minutes before the aircraft was due to depart for the United Kingdom with 68 passengers.[2]
  • On April 27, 1956 a RAF Douglas Dakota was destroyed on the ground by a bomb thought to have been placed by EOKA fighters.
  • On January 29, 1973, an EgyptAir Ilyushin Il-18 aircraft (Reg No SU-AOV) crashed into the Pentadaktylos mountain range on approach to NIC killing all 37 aboard (7 crew and 30 passengers). [3]
  • On July 20, 1974, two empty Cyprus Airways airliners (a Hawker-Siddeley HS121 Trident 1E (5B-DAE), and a Trident 2E (5B-DAB)) were destroyed on the ground by the Turkish Air Force during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
  • On July 22, 1974, 20 ageing Nord Noratlas and 10 C-47 Dakotas, of the 354 Transport Squadron "Pegasus", were assigned to transport a Greek commando force to protect the airport from invading Turks. This operation was named Operation NIKI (victory).

Former Airlines and Destinations

  • Cyprus Airways: Athens, London, Beirut, Cairo, Haifa, Istanbul, Alexandria, Rome, Khartoum via Wadi Halfa, Kuwait, Bahrain, Baghdad, Lydda, Amman, Manchester, Brussels, Paris.
  • British Airways: London Heathrow
  • EgyptAir: Cairo
  • Middle East Airlines: Beirut
  • Skyways: London Heathrow
  • British European Airways: London, Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines: Amman


  1. Civil engineers October 27, 1972 The Times Digital Archive
  2. Flight International 16 March 1956
  3. Egyptian plane crashes since 1970, January 3, 2004, CNN

External links

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