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OA seeking funds for move

The European Commission has reportedly asked Athens for more information concerning its request to employ EU funds earmarked for renewing Greek national carrier Olympic Airways<.>` fleet

The European Commission has reportedly asked Athens for more information concerning its request to employ EU funds earmarked for renewing Greek national carrier Olympic Airways<.>` fleet in the transfer of the airline to the country`s new airport.

In 1998, the EU approved $378 million in government guarantees for the upgrading of OA<.>`s fleet, the Greek daily `Ta Nea` reports. Of this figure 168 million drachmas has not been spent and the government has asked that this sum be diverted towards OA`s move to the new facility at Spata, eastern Attica.

In a July letter sent to the commission, the Greek government stated that the transfer would cost 70.2 billion drachmas. The government intends to allocate 33.5 billion drachmas for this purpose while OA is expected to provide the remainder.

In a recent letter to the Greek government, the Commission`s general secretary for energy and transport stated that Athens must clarify the amount it has set aside for the transfer thus far and an indicative timeframe for the allocation of the remaining monies.

The official denied a recent statement by Greek Transport Minister Christos Verelis that the government had secured an additional 10 billion drachmas from the EU for this purpose. The general secretary pointed that the Commission had not yet made a decision on the matter.

The new Eleftherios Venizelos international airport is almost complete and due to begin operating in March next year. It is set to open in October for inspection by interested members of the public.

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