The History of Nicosia Airport

The Civilian Side

The newly created national flag carrier, Cyprus Airways, began operating from Nicosia on the 18th April 1948 using three Douglas DC3 aircraft.
Their routes included Rome, London (via Athens), Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul and Haifa.

The postcard is captioned "Cyprus Airways flying over Kyrenia"
Image displayed courtesy of the amazing Airline Postcard Database

A terminal was built near to the wartime control tower to serve the increasing numbers of passengers who were using Nicosia Airport. 
It was opened on Empire Day 1949 (24th May) by Governor Reginald Fletcher (1st Baron Winster). 
The building was described as the "island's pride" and the opening speech was "dramatically punctuated by the roar of Vampires and Dakotas".
The new terminal was "second to none in the Middle East" and included a restaurant, "Happy Landings" and boasted "lavatories as comfortable as they can be made".

Besides Cyprus Aiways and BEA, regional carriers such as Middle East Airlines and Misrair (Egypt) were frequent callers.

A DC3 of Middle East Airlines in Nicosia airport and a Vickers Viking of Misrair at Almaza, Cairo
Click the image or this link for a larger picture in a new window

The Misr Viking image is courtesy of Ed Coates' Civil Aircraft Photograph Collection

The RAF continued to use the airfield alongside their civilian counterparts and all air traffic control functions were operated by RAF personnel.
An enlargement of the MEA photograph (above left) shows an RAF Valetta parked nearby.

An RAF Valetta parked near to the civilian terminal....the military Air Movements Offices and a NAAFI were next to the terminal

The airport was not immune from the volatile political situation in Cyprus and there were several incidents of sabotage.

The remains of a Handley Page Hermes IV operated by Skyways Limited (March 3rd 1956) and a Cyprus Airways Dakota (April 27th 1956)
Both bombs were thought to be the work of the EOKA organisation

Click the image or this link for a larger version (in a new window)

The Dakota is often described as an RAF aircraft but a Pathé News film sequence of the incident briefly shows the tail bearing the Cyprus Airways logo.

The images above show the tail of the bombed Dakota and an earlier picture of the same plane in service in 1955
Amazingly, much of the damaged aircraft was returned to Fields Aircraft Services at Tollerton airfield in the UK where it was rebuilt and then sold to the French Air Force.
The Dakota image above and the additional information is courtesy of Dave Welch and the ABPIC website

In 1959, to handle ever increasing passenger numbers, the existing terminal was enlarged and the parking apron area was increased in size.

The enlarged terminal which was completed in 1959

Work to increase the size of the parking apron (click the image or this link for a larger version)

The newly enlarged terminal on the RHS with a busy apron of aircraft (picture most probably taken from the control tower)
The smaller buildings belong to the RAF.......the wartime parachute hut (building B13) is on the extreme RHS with the flight office building below

The curved Nissen hut on the LHS, one of the Air Movement buildings, exists today.....see "The Airport Today"

The expanded and increasingly popular airport was now in a position to look to the future (and independence) with real confidence.