NEWS

Cutbacks see soldiers lose air travel privilege

The Defense Ministry plans to save 5 million euros this year by stopping free air travel for soldiers serving on islands or in remote parts of the country, such as Rhodope and Evros, it was revealed yesterday. The tickets were a perk for military personnel serving far from their families but the ministry said yesterday that the soldiers will be able to travel for free on ferries or by train in a decision that affects conscripts as well as professional soldiers. However, they will only be given free tickets once every six months, not four times in that period, as is the case now. Sources said that the ministry took this decision after discovering that some 20 million euros was spent last year in subsidizing travel for military personnel. Inspectors apparently found that many of the soldiers used their free airline tickets when they were off-duty.