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Limassol - Cyprus First Air Harbor!

And - literally :) Yes as no surprise, but it was the first city of Limassol in Cyprus, which was organized by regular passenger air service. In view of the runway on the ground, "airfield" started waters of the Gulf, where the April 19 1932 year splashed seaplane Short S.8 Calcutta, bringing first passengers and mail from the UK and Greece.

Limassol has become an intermediate point in the intercontinental regular commercial flights, organized by Imperial Airways. Despite the fact that Nicosia has already 2 years functioned RAF airfield, passenger aircraft at the time did not have aircraft capable of carrying comfortably large number of passengers on such a distance.

The apparent now look anachronistic and unreliable hydroplane Short S.8, designed specifically to serve the needs of the British Empire in the Mediterranean in 1928 year 15 offering passengers unprecedented comfort on those times with a heated cabin and in-flight catering. Such a flight from London to Calcutta could last more than a week, depending on weather and routing. I must say that flying through Limassol lasted only until the 30 1932 October, when the route to the transit through the then British Palestine, where the aircraft landed on the water of Lake Tiberias, was changed to a previously set, with a stopover in Alexandria. Apparently, the calculations of the fact that the French passengers will fly to neighboring Syria, did not materialize.

It is, perhaps, a separate stop for Imperial Airways the airline. Despite its particular origin, this enterprise was the direct recipient of grants from the government as part of a special program for the development of passenger traffic within the British Empire. Aircraft Company carried mail and passengers, and sometimes military cargo on all corners of the globe, from India to New Zealand and South Africa. It is no wonder that the aircraft Short S.8 Calcutta, established itself as a civilian, served as the basis for the conversion of a military version of the machine built in 1934 year. Subsequently, the company by merging with a partner of the Australian Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd) and New Zealand TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Ltd) was transformed BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) in 1939 year, which after nationalization in 1974, together with British European Airways Corporation (UK and a number of local carriers) became the basis of all known British Airways.

Aircraft moored to a pier located opposite the campus of the current Faculty of Economics of the Cyprus University of Technology, in those days it was a hotel, called, Vienna is no longer, as in the picture, and Grand hotel Continental (the exact date of renaming, I do not set). The plane stood in the city until 23 April and then flew to Haifa. All those days lasted an unprecedented campaign by local standards in the press, which, otherwise than furor and not name. Quay berth and became a place of pilgrimage not only limassoltsev, but also made a special trip to see the technical achievement of residents of other cities. By the way, for some reason, transit passengers did not live in the coastal hotel and settled in other places. On board a seaplane to the city came 4 local passengers, according to some among them were the director of the Postal Service of Cyprus and Mayor Christodoulos Hadzhipavlu. The rest of the 4 4 passenger and crew member to continue the flight to India through Palestine. Recall that prior to a flight from Rhodes lasted almost 7 hours.

In addition to passengers, the aircraft for the first time brought to Limassol mail and fresh (relatively) English newspapers. Being late on the day after the departure of 3 16 April in London at the time could only be called a super-fast delivery.

But the story of Limassol associated with aviation, not the end. Another, no less surprising unknown fact is the existence of a military airfield RAF within the modern city. Until the end of 30-ies of the last century, the British Air Force did not feel a particular need to have an additional airfield on the island, limited existing base in Nicosia. However, the growth of the threat posed by Germany and Italy, forced military commanders to create alternate aerodrome Nicosia is explained and the need for diversification and the growth of air traffic volumes. By themselves, the runway Cyprus particular military significance were not, fighter and bomber aircraft perfectly dispensed Middle Eastern airfields. But, in terms of logistics, transshipment points for goods and personnel in Cyprus have been very much in demand. In 1938, construction began on the airfield to the south-west of the populated part of the city. Land previously used for agricultural purposes, were purchased in the conditions close to the confiscation.

The airfield, which was located in the southwest of the populated part of the city, occupied territory, begins from the intersection of streets and Vasileos Pavlou Pafou, crossing the avenue Omonoias and ending at today's Carrefour Superstore. Initially, for the construction and maintenance of aerporta involved mobilized the locals, especially the unemployed and day laborers. For these people, a dozen years of work has become a source of relatively low but guaranteed earnings. NAAFI name, which is the abbreviation of the English "PX" and a familiar limassoltsam, is directly related to the existence of the airport. In warehouses is located in these places, passed sorting and processing of goods being brought and sent to the airport. In 1948, the airport was closed after a decision on the deployment of Air Force base at Akrotiri. One of the arguments in favor of the elimination of potentially commercially attractive project of conservation of the airport began to difficulties in recruiting and training of local people, can replace demobilized soldiers. After returning to the territory of the owners, is gradually beginning to be built up area apartment buildings and shopping. Runway for a long time been used as a training roads for driving schools, completely disappearing by mid-70-x.

Unfortunately, no photo documents relating to the airfield in Limassol has been preserved. Traces of existence can only be found in the toponymy: still periptera kiosk on the street called Miltonos ΑΕΡΟΔΡΟΜΙΟ, a power substation in the Omonia in the church of St. Spyridon officially named Air Strip.. In addition, Sv.Spiridona School (pictured above), opened at the end of the year 1969, also was called Δημοτικό Λεμεσού - Παλαιού Αεροδρομίου (municipal school - the old airport), which is reflected in numerous forms and stamps stored graduates of those years.

A source: Syprus Butterfly