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Air Transport Conference

An International Conference on Air Transport and Airports and their evolution in the 21st Century takes place next month at the University of Patras on December 3 and 4. Organizers expect to welcome some 300 experts in air transport from the European Union, including Greece, and other countries of the region (Southeastern Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East).

So far, delegates include representatives from international organizations, airline companies, travel enterprises, the academic world and governing authorities.

The main aims of the conference include the investigation of the prospects of Air Transport in Greece, the European Union and the surrounding region, and the exchange of views between Greek and foreign experts on the subjects related to air transport and airports. Theodore S. Varvias and Kyriakos P. Papageorgiou of I.C.O., the event’s management company, said that as many as 55 experienced speakers are ready to participate.

Many will concentrate on the recent problems that are to be confronted by European airports after the terrorist acts against the USA. The conference also will focus on the security measures to be taken by airports and airline companies and on how this crisis perhaps be best handled. Other main topics analyzed will include: European and regional air transport policies, regional airport development and airport networks in Greece, airport commercialization and privatization, Greek island tourism, airline trends, Athens Airport operations, air traffic management and simulation tools, and airline mergers and alliances.

Other problems to be discussed include the construction and management of private airports in Greece and the viability of the new Athens airport and its use a pilot for other Greek airports.

Funding for airport projects, the management of funds and development policies for Greek airports is also a main theme, as is subsidizing unprofitable domestic air routes. And of particular importance to the trade will be a discussion on a national air transport policy in conjunction with a tourism policy.

Greece boasts 38 airports with major expansion projects being carried out at the country’s second and third biggest airports after Athens – Heraklion, Crete, and Thessaloniki.

Annual arrivals to Greece by air averages 17 million passengers with another 2 million transit passengers. Some 80% of passengers arrive during the April-October period and more than 50% arrive during the June-September period.

Annual cargo and mail transport totals some 148.7 tons, according to the Hellenic Insititute of Transportation Engineers. They say airlines bring in eight out of every 10 visitors to Greece.

The conference is being organized by the University of Patras, along with the Hellenic Institute of Transport Engineers. It is being held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the Development Ministry and the Hellenic Tourism Organization.

Major Greek Airline Companies like Aegean/Cronus Airlines and Axon Airlines sponsor the event. Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is the media sponsor and supports the conference. Internet Sites: www.gtp.gr, www.spoudmet.civil.upatras.gr.

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