BUSINESS

Thessaloniki airport works set to be put off

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations, Tourism, Transport

A solution to the problem regarding work on the runway at Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Airport will likely come from Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis, who is expected to postpone the implementation of the terminal’s upgrade until September 2017.

An announcement to that effect is likely to come very soon from the minister himself, with sources adding that he will invite the various authorities in northern Greece, as well as Fraport, the contractor that will undertake the airport’s operation from 2017, to coordinate their efforts and avoid creating problems at the height of the tourism season.

This intervention is seen as essential, otherwise the existing runway, as well as the new 3.5-kilometer one under construction, will not be available for use up until halfway through the summer season in the case of the existing runway or the end of 2017 for the new one.

The two runways will cross each other, so the works will be conducted in parallel for some time. A temporary solution that has been proposed concerns the use of the existing taxiing runway that aircraft use before takeoff and after landing, as it does not cross the other two. Of course it would not be able to cope with the demand seen in the summer months.

Unless the works are postponed until after the summer there will also be a risk of losing thousands of tourists, and therefore millions of euros, in the 2017 tourism season. Andreas Andreadis, the head of the Greek Tourism Confederation, estimates that Makedonia Airport could lose up to 30 percent of flights in 2017.

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