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Delay in Athens airport road link

A six-lane freeway linking Athens` new international airport with the city will not be ready until two years after the facility`s planned 2001 March opening, the Greek government…

A six-lane freeway linking Athens` new international airport with the city will not be ready until two years after the facility`s planned 2001 March opening, the Greek government has admitted.



Transport Minister Christos Verelis last week clarified that the Attiki<.> Odos highway will not be completed until the end of 2003. The Western Ymittos Ave ring road has also been delayed and the completion date set for June 2003.



Furthermore, by March 1 only light maintenance service will be available for planes at the airport, in Spata<.>, eastern Attica. Maintenance services will be moved gradually from the current facility at Hellenikon, southern Athens, to Spata though the government has set no timeframe.



As for the Sofitel<.> hotel being built on the site of the airport, it is not expected to be finished until May 1, 2001. Verelis said travellers and flight crew seeking to stay close to the airport could be accommodated at hotels in the surrounding Messogion region during the months of March and April.



Additionally, the 48 international carriers operating in Greece have expressed concerns over their transfer to the new facility. In a positive development, however, the ministry announced that two express bus lines will service travellers using the airport. Buses will travel on a 24-hour basis between the airport and central Athens` Syntagma Square as well as Piraeus and Glyfada.

Twenty new airconditioned buses, with luggage compartments, will ferry passengers from March 1, 2001, the date the airport is planned to open.

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