Yiannis Kefalogiannis, Greece’s new deputy infrastructure, and transport minister is addressing the crippling flight delays at Athens International Airport (AIA). Mr. Kefalogiannis said this week that immediate action would be taken to address the problems at Athens and at other facilities across Greece.
Following a meeting with representatives from the Greek Air Traffic Controllers Association, the minister called for the relocation of four air traffic controllers based in Thessaloniki to AIA. The minister’s other actions included approving the transfer of 13 employees to the air traffic control department as well as the allocation of funds for the employment of 47 additional controllers.
Greek airports from Athens to Mykonos, Santorini, Heraklion, and Chania, were at the top of Mr. Kefalogiannis’ list since those facilities have repeatedly been singled out for the number and duration of delays, particularly in the summer peak season.
AIA is the third-worst airport from among 25 European facilities for the number of delays. The airport’s passengers suffered from twice as many delays over the 2017-2018 period according to Eurocontrol.
In addition, AIA data shows that on an average summer day this year, the airport handles a total of 764 aircraft movements in eight key time slots: 10am (61 aircraft); 5am (47); 5pm (45), 11am and noon (45 movements each); 2pm and 4 pm (42); and 6pm (40).
Just last month the European Commission said it had approved funds to go toward establishing AIA into a high-performing hub within the European Air Traffic Management Network.
AIA was the first Greek airport to be selected by the EU under the “Connecting Europe Facility – Transport Sector” program, aimed at creating the “Single European Sky” (SESAR).