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Athens’ International Airport first major facelift completed

Νίκος Καραγιάννης



The biggest facelift in the 16 years of AIA’s operation was completed just a few days ago. Costing 35mn euros, interior refurbishments both in Intra Schengen and Extra Schengen zones transformed the airport terminal for the better.

A new philosophy was introduced with regard to its interior design, with larger spaces, futuristic lighting and revamped passengers’ lobbies in a dominating, white colour, inspiring harmony combined with a touch of elegant contemporary elements.

All retail stores were also refurbished. It is noteworthy that 15 out of 35mn euros spent on the facelift came from the Airport whereas the remaining 20mn from the commercial concessionaires. JP AVAX was the contractor of the project.

Mr. Giannis Eleftherakis, Development CEO of the Airport, emphasized that these changes will bring a major improvement of the passenger’s experience in the Airport; “The passenger will now be able to reach the airplane, without having to talk to anybody in the meantime”, he added regarding the automatization of several procedures.

Mr. Costas Theodorogiannopoulos, Technical Services Manager, noted that the main target was the upgrade of the Airport’s facilities and infrastructure, the reinforcement of the commercial activities and the enhancement of the passenger’s experience. “9 check points were reduced to just 2, without compromising security, while the retail space is now unified with catering stores making the visitor’s shopping even more pleasant. Regarding the automatic entrance check points, the Airport is now equipped with 9 of them, accelerating the flow of passengers considerably”.

Futuristic and anti-stress design

The lighting is a very central element in this, innovative design, used to some extent in order to distract the eye from the industrial celeing of the Airport. Extra Schengen spaces were already upgraded between October 2014 and April 2015 while Intra Schengen zone between September 2016 and April 2017, where the extended facelift resulted in 15,000 s.m. of revamped space including 126 stores (64 retail, 34 catering and 28 services) as well as time reduction for the passengers’ access to the gates by 15 minutes.

A “Greeker” Airport with more Greek stores than ever, featuring even a souvlaki restaurant for the very first time is another result of the facelift. Extra Schengen zone aesthetically refers to the ancient Arcades whereas the Intra Schengen Zone draws parallels with the Agora and the “Platia”, the Square always with a unique feeling of Greek-ness in them. asked about the ever-increasing traffic of AIA and how the recent works will be able to adequately keep it in good operation. It is reminded that last year, AIA passed the threshold of 20mn passengers with this year’s estimate being roughly 22mn, 2mn more than the previous record-breaking year. The maximum capacity of the Airport is 26mn passengers, so, many adjustments will be continuously undertaken in order to maintain a good level of services and experience. A striking omission, which is an easy fix, is the lack of chargers embedded in the new seats, a feature that is widely spread in many Airports of similar size in the rest of Europe and will be addressed soon as Mr. Theodorogiannopoulos certified.



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