NEWS

New airport faces its first winter test

Athens’s new Eleftherios Venizelos Airport was not closed for business yesterday, in contrast to Istanbul’s Kemal Ataturk Airport, resulting in the the cancellation of Olympic Airways’s Athens-Istanbul flight bearing New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis. However, only one runway was open and there were delays of up to six hours as «defreezing» equipment had to serve all aircraft. Passengers and crew members were late arriving at the airport due to delays on the Attiki Odos highway. According to Athanasios Maschas, who was duty officer at OA’s technical department at the airport yesterday, about 30 aircraft had to have ice removed from their wings and undercarriages. A special machine sprays the aircraft with ethyl alcohol, a process that takes about 20 minutes. The airport has two of these machines but only one was operating yesterday; the other was being serviced. Apart from their own planes, OA technicians also handle British Airways, Air France and KLM aircraft. All Olympic Aviation flights (serving country and island airports) were closed because of bad weather at the destinations. «The snow in Thessaloniki was a meter deep and the airport was closed for five days.