NEWS

Metro link to airport reopens

Athens metro services to and from Athens International Airport resumed yesterday as a brand-new station was opened that is destined to become a major transport hub for the greater area of the capital. Metro services linking Athens and the airport had been suspended since February to allow construction of new stations, the first of which – Nomismatokopeio – was inaugurated yesterday by Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. The station takes its name from the adjacent national mint in the northeastern suburb of Kato Halandri. In two weeks, the bus terminuses presently operating at Ethniki Amyna and Katehaki will be moved to the Nomismatokopeio location, effectively turning it into a busy transport hub for the city and its environs. Souflias said an estimated 30,000 commuters will use the Nomismatokopeio station daily, traveling to central Athens in just 10 minutes, as opposed to at least 40 minutes by car. Next to the new station on Mesogeion Avenue, a three-story car park is being built with capacity for 630 vehicles, one floor of which will be open to the public in two weeks and the rest in about one month. In addition, two outdoor parking facilities – each with capacity for 250 vehicles – are being constructed next to the Proastiakos suburban railway stations at Koropi and Kantza. Both are scheduled to open at the end of September. Souflias pledged that the new metro stations at Holargos, Anthoupoli, Peristeri and Haidari will be completed by the end of the year, while another four stations extending the network toward Helleniko, in eastern Attica, plus the Aghia Paraskevi station, north of Athens, would open in the first half of the coming year. Asked by a reporter if he had been in a rush to inaugurate the new metro station because a pre-election period was drawing near, Souflias dismissed the idea as «gossip.» «From the moment the station is ready and can serve commuters, what should I do? Keep it for another 15, 20, 40 or 50 days?» Souflias retorted, stressing that there was no political expediency behind the opening of the station.