Vienna International Airport (IATA: VIE, ICAO: LOWW) (German: Flughafen Wien-Schwechat), located 18 kilometers (11 miles) southeast of Vienna, is the busiest and biggest airport in Austria. It is often referred to as Schwechat, the name of the nearby town. The airport is capable of handling wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A340. The airport is the hub of Austrian Airlines and its subsidiaries, as well as budget airline Niki.
Originally built as a military airport in 1938, it was taken over by the British in 1945. In 1954, the Betriebsgesellschaft was founded, and the airport replaced Aspern as Vienna's (and Austria's) principal aerodrome. There was just one runway, which in 1959 was expanded to measure 3,000 metres. The erection of the new airport building starting in 1960. In 1972 another runway was built.
The airport received Olympic teams as Austria has twice hosted the Winter Olympics. Pope John Paul II also used the airport during his visits to Austria. On December 27, 1985, the El Al ticket counter was attacked by Palestinian terrorists. (See Rome and Vienna Airport Attacks.)
The airport formerly featured a Harrods, but it closed in 2003.
Presently, Vienna International Airport has three terminals. A provisory terminal (1A) was built to offer more space for low-cost carriers. In 2006, the airport started building a new terminal, SKYLINK, which will make the airport more capable of dealing with higher passenger volumes (2006: 16.9 million). This new terminal will also make the airport capable of handling bigger aircraft, such as the Airbus A380.
Hall A ("Pier East"): International Flights (Transit-Zone; Passport-control at entrance/exit of the hall; Gates with Jetbridges and Busgates)
Hall B: Europe(Schengen)-Flights (Busgates)
Halle C ("Pier West"): Europe(Schengen)-Flights, partial International Flights (Gates with Jetbridges; Several gates are used for Europe(Schengen) -Flights and also for International Flights; For International Flights: Gates are called Transfergates; Passport-control at the respective gates; Passengers from International- to International Flights are going at arrival at one of the C-Gates, in front of the immigration-passport-control, to the transitzone to ground-floor, where they have access to other International Flights from the C-Gates and a shuttlebus-connection to the international hall A; Passengers arriving at the international hall A with an international connection-flight from one of the C-Gates use also the shuttlebus)