Before the Turkish invasion in 1974, Nicosia International Airport was the main airport of the island. It is located 8km west from Nicosia.
With the invasion of the Turkish, the airport was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting between Turkish and Cypriot forces. The United Nations Security Council, therefore, declared it a United Nations Protected Area during the conflict. This required both of the sides to withdraw at least 500 meters from the perimeter of Nicosia International Airport.
With the ceasefire line signed on August 16th, 1974, Nicosia International Airport became part of the Buffer Zone controlled by the United Nations. While the airport is not fully functioning anymore, United Nations helicopters are based at the site. It is also used as one of the sites for inter-communal peace talks and the home to a number of recreational facilities for United Nations personnel.
Following the closure of Nicosia International Airport a new airport, Larnaca International Airport was opened in the Southern part of Cyprus in 1975. In the Northern part of Cyprus, the Ercan International Airport was opened in 2004. There have been some plans for Nicosia International Airport to be reopened under United Nations control as a goodwill measure, but so far neither the Greek Cypriots nor the Turkish Cypriots have seriously pursued this option.
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