NEWS

Helios probe moves to Cyprus

While the focus of the investigation into the Helios Airways crash moves to Cyprus today, the Greek Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement yesterday denying media allegations that it did not conduct proper safety checks on flights leaving the country. Greek investigators are due to begin gathering information in Cyprus today as they try to establish the circumstances which led to the Boeing 737-300 losing pressure and crashing north of Athens just over two weeks ago, killing all 121 people on board. The directors and employees of Helios are likely to face questions from investigators, who will also re-enact the doomed flight from Larnaca. They will use another 737 to retrace the exact route of the flight, including circling over the island of Kea nine times before heading over Evia and then toward Grammatiko, hoping that the data collected by the flight recorder might give them some more clues about what happened. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority in Greece was yesterday forced to issue a statement denying press reports that its organization and efficiency left much to be desired. The authority admitted in the past that seven of its 44 inspectors did not have the necessary qualifications, which in part led to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to downgrade Greece to a Category 2 rating, meaning it did not comply with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization. However, this problem has now been rectified, the statement said pointing to the fact that the FAA upgraded Greece to a Category 1 rating in June.