Forty-five years ago, this passenger plane touched down in what would become its final resting place.

The Trident Sun Jet remains motionless on the tarmac to this day, right where it came to a stop. The only things that have changed since 1974 are the fading paintwork and rusting parts.

The decaying passenger jet is one of the eerie remains of Nicosia International Airport on Cyprus, the formerly bustling airport that time forgot.

Family members of United Nations peacekeepers jog past a decaying passenger plane of Cyprus Airways at Nicosia International Airport. Photo / Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Family members of United Nations peacekeepers jog past a decaying passenger plane of Cyprus Airways at Nicosia International Airport. Photo / Sean Gallup, Getty Images

The airport was once a state-of-the-art transport hub on the popular Mediterranean holiday island. The hi-tech terminal opened in 1968 with restaurants and shops to service international travellers flocking to Cyprus. Idyllic beaches, medieval cities and an enviable island climate, were making the island a favourite destination among regular holiday-makers as well as the rich and famous, including actors Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and model Brigitte Bardot.

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The sign reads: 'Tipping porters not allowed'. Photo / Athanasios Gioumpasis, Getty Images
The sign reads: 'Tipping porters not allowed'. Photo / Athanasios Gioumpasis, Getty Images

But that golden era came to an abrupt end in 1974, when the airport shifted from being Cyprus' gateway to a flashpoint for local conflict.

Cyprus had endured years of tensions between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots after it became independent from Britain in 1960.

The former control tower at Nicosia International Airport stands decaying. Photo / Sean Gallup, Getty Images
The former control tower at Nicosia International Airport stands decaying. Photo / Sean Gallup, Getty Images
The airport became stuck in the middle of a demilitarised zone after conflict broke out in Cyprus. Photo / Athanasios Gioumpasis, Getty Images
The airport became stuck in the middle of a demilitarised zone after conflict broke out in Cyprus. Photo / Athanasios Gioumpasis, Getty Images

But 1974 was a momentous year. In July — during the peak summer holiday season — Greek nationalists overthrew the elected president of Cyprus. In the days that followed, Nicosia airport was briefly used to bring in troops from Greece.

The airport was also a scene of chaos during that time, as holiday-makers and other foreigners fled the violent conflict.

Within days of the coup d'etat, Turkey invaded Cyprus, and the airport was severely damaged in a bombing campaign.

A demilitarised zone was drawn and Nicosia airport wound up right in the middle of it, which led to it being suddenly abandoned.

Bird droppings have blanketed the old passenger departure area. Photo / Athanasios Gioumpasis, Getty Images
Bird droppings have blanketed the old passenger departure area. Photo / Athanasios Gioumpasis, Getty Images

The last commercial flight departed Nicosia for London in 1977 under the special authorisation of the United Nations.

The Cyprus Airways Trident Sun Jet, however, stayed behind. The aircraft sustained some crossfire damage during the conflict, and its engines were stripped to use on another jet. But otherwise it's been left to rot — along with the rest of the airport.

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A former cafe inside the former main terminal at Nicosia International Airport. Photo / Sean Gallup, Getty Images
A former cafe inside the former main terminal at Nicosia International Airport. Photo / Sean Gallup, Getty Images

After Nicosia airport was abandoned, authorities opened a new international airport at Larnaca, which is the island's main airport.

Nicosia, now, is a ghost building, with decaying check-in desks, derelict rows of seats in waiting areas, and eerie decrepit jet planes stuck where they came to rest all those years ago.