The TETRA (terrestrial trunk radio) system installed at the new Athens International Airport, has greatly contributed to its smooth operation that led it being considered as one of the top airports in the world, AIA Managing Director Matthias Mitscherlich told reporters yesterday. TETRA, a system developed by US electronics and telecommunications equipment firm Motorola and installed by OTE telecom, offers voice, text and image communication. The devices used for communication look quite similar to rather rugged mobile phones, except they can also function as walkie-talkies if the system breaks down for some reason. The TETRA system installed at the airport operates on a band of 410 to 430 megahertz (MHz) and is absolutely secure from outside interference, according to OTE Chairman and Managing Director Nikos Manassis. Communications within the closed system are charge-free. Users can also communicate with other fixed and mobile telephony systems. AIA is the first company in Greece, and the second airport in the world after Oslo’s, to use the system. A total of 1,100 people use it, including airport employees, policemen and firefighters. Each group has its own subsystems. OTE plans to market the TETRA system, aiming at companies of every size, and even individual users, according to an OTE official. As a pilot project, the system has been distributed to two taxi companies and a security services firm. OTE, as part of its role as one of the chief sponsors of the Athens 2004 Olympics, will provide the Games organizers with the system. Among the sectors most affected by the Games are transport, telecommunications and tourism. Regarding the latter, it is expected that the number of tourist arrivals will reach 20 million by 2010, from about 12 million currently.