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Fraport expresses optimism over Spata airport, however, travelers not too cheery!

The opening of the new Athens Eleftherios Venizelos<.> Airport can be considered an overall success, stressed Dr. Wilhelm Bender

The opening of the new Athens Eleftherios Venizelos<.> Airport can be considered an overall success, stressed Dr. Wilhelm Bender, Executive Board Chairman of Fraport AG (Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide), who participated in the official opening celebrations on March 27th, 2001.



A team of about 30 Fraport specialists has been supporting AIA during the first opening days of Europe`s newest major international airport, which has been built on a greenfield site at Spata near Athens, Greece.



Fraport AG is a shareholder and chief consultant of the new Athens International Airport S.A. (AIA) airport company, which operates Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.



Since June 1996, over 300 Fraport AG experts have supported and helped build up the AIA company. Furthermore, Fraport AG has provided airport management and operations training to almost 400 AIA staff. This is an airport built to world standards. The high motivation and preparedness of the AIA staff will help make Athens` new airport an international success, said Dr. Bender. The Athens-Spata<.> Airport has two runways that can been fully and simultaneously utilized.



With a current capacity of about 16 million passengers per year, Athens-Spata Airport can be expanded to about 50 million passengers annually. Thus, Athens-Spata Airport is well positioned to become an air transportation hub in Southeastern Europe.



This from the mouths of the advisors, in Greece, and since its inauguration on March 27, the new airport has been plagued by a series of problems that have led to massive delays and scores of last-minute flight cancellations.



Outbound and inbound traffic, long flight delays along with cancellations, lost baggage, as well as equipment and communications foul-ups tormented travelers who over since March 27th have used the new state-of-the-art airport.



With this in mind it did not come as a surprise when Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis made a public apology to some 15,000 passengers, inconvenienced by the problems of the new airport.



He reassured travelers that the first days of the new airport`s operation were undoubtedly difficult, but after coordinated efforts by the airport company, Olympic Airways (Olympic Aviation is a wholly owned subsidiary of OA – the country`s national carrier – and chiefly conducts domestic air routes in Greece as well as oversea charter flights) and the Civil Aviation Authority, as well as all the other airlines, private and foreign, good results had been achieved.



Meanwhile, and in the framework to minimize problems, Olympic Airways (OA) announced a cancellation of seven out of its 75 scheduled flights between April 2-April 11. Flights to Thessaloniki, Chania, Herakleio, Ioannina, Kos, Santorini, Mykonos, Samos and Rome have been cancelled.

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