Rhodes Airport History
The Maritsa International airport (1935 – 1977)
The Maritsa airport of Rhodes, was constructed in 1935 and has been the main passenger, commercial and military airport under the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese. It got its name from the village in the area, while we also see it as Maritza in the Italian reports. Its real name was G. PESSI PARVIS, from the ace of the Italian aviation of the First World War who was killed in the Aegean, and the code of the airport was 801.
The Maritsa Airport had a passenger station; storage sheds for aircrafts, technical services for the maintenance and repairing of aircrafts, as well as two kilometers of dirt and asphalted runways. It accommodated all types of civil and military aircraft of the Italian aviation.
During the World War II, it was strongly bombed by both the British and the Germans, without any major catastrophes, thanks to the antiaircraft artillery that protected it. After the occupation of Rhodes by the Germans, it was the main airport of the Luftwaffe.
After the war, it became the main civil airport of Rhodes, in which the Dakota landed with the mission of the Greek Government during the Integration.
The Maritsa Airport was an International Airport up until March 1977. It has two runways of the dimensions 08/26 and 14/32 and 2400 X 45 and 1200 X 60 respectively, as well as a parking floor (apron), able to accommodate Heavy, Medium and tens of light aircrafts. Immediately after the removal of the international airport functions in the “Diagora”, the use of the airport was taken, as we know, by the Air Force.
Almost 95% of the traffic is charged to the flight activity of a helicopter, for aero medical transportation purposes and research / rescuing, the AS32 type – Super Puma (2-10 moves per week). In the recent years, the volatile exploitation of this helicopter does not require the use of the airport services and infrastructure, because it has independent premises, qualified staff and a heliport.
Of course, in the case of a forest fire, some CL215 Canadairs are also accommodated. Finally, the Rhodes Aeroclub, with two light a/fi in its fleet, is based in a hangar that has been given by the CAA in Maritsa; however it attempts, almost exclusively, from the “Diagoras” airport, due to the excessive restrictions in terms of the Air Force. (Flights are permitted only during the weekends).
- 1935: Construction of the Maritsa airport by the Italians,
- 1948: Grant of the airport to the CAA,
- 1965: Landing of the first jet, flying from Sweden
- 1977: Termination of the operation as an international airport.
Diagoras International Airport (1977 – today)
The new “Diagoras” airport was built in 1977. It was decided that, on this location, it would meet the needs of the island better.
Over the passing years, many improvements have been made to the airport, like expansion of taxiways, platform and airport buildings. The most recent upgrade is the new passenger terminal, which opened in 2005, to better accommodate the growing amount of charters and passengers. The airport’s plants currently cover a total area of 60,000 m
- 1977: first year in operation
- 2005: new passenger terminal upgraded