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Greece’s Airways Back to Safety Level 1

After spending about five years in safety Limbo, the Greek Civil Aviation Authority recently was upgraded to the first category in flight safety by the U.S. federal aviation authority.

“This development is of great significance to Greek aviation,” said Transport Minister Michalis Liapis, “since it will expand the country’s aviation market, facilitating Greek airlines’ flights to the U.S. with more flights and destinations.”

This is a marked improvement over 2000 when the FAA judged that Greece did not comply with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization and gave the country a less desirable Category 2 rating.

Last month’s decision could pave the way for more flights, and to more destinations between Greece and the U.S. Airlines will be able to reduce their security costs as intensive checks on planes flying to the U.S. can now be relaxed slightly.

Mr. Liapis said the upgrade will help Greek tourism and promised to pass legislation on airport security shortly that would put Greece in line with international standards.

Meanwhile, Athens International Airport cut the cost of refueling by 5 percent last month. The airport, and Olympic Fuel Co, said the reduction was effective immediately. This is a “joint effort to support airlines and enhance the competitiveness of aviation fuel prices at the airport,” the operators of Athens Airport and OFC said.

The two companies had already reduced the cost to refuel at Athens Airport by 23 percent at the beginning of 2005. The overall reduction in the fee this year so far is expected to save airlines refueling at the airport 3.06 million euros, the two companies said.

The state has a 55 percent stake in airport and is looking to sell part of its holding in 2007. German construction company Hochtief AG, which has management control of AIA, has a 40 percent stake.

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