Fraport Greece, the managing company of 14 regional airports, reiterated its concerns in a statement on Friday, that maintenance works at Thessaloniki Makedonia Airport be carried out in low season after local media reported that a low cost carrier announced it would cancel all its flights due to safety concerns.
According to the press, EasyJet has suspended its flights for 48 hours and will be transporting travelers via Athens and Kavala airports, citing safety for its customers and crew due to poor landing conditions augmented by bad weather and the lack of an instrument landing system.
“Airlines had not been notified in advance of the runway’s closure, and the risks associated with the proposed temporary runway solution are not acceptable to the company. For this reason, we decided to carry out flights via alternative airports,” Taddei said.
EasyJet said that it will through to December 6 carry out flight via Athens Airport and from there transport passengers to Thessaloniki by bus. For the December 7-21 period, flights will be carried out via Kavala Airport with bus transport to the northern port city from there and the company will provide accommodation if necessary. Travelers will be informed of any changes via e-mail or SMS.
“Today’s cancellations of flights from Thessaloniki Makedonia Airport by an international airline, relate to the same strong concerns raised over a year ago by Fraport Greece, the local authorities, the airport community and the local tourism over the implementation of the state works at the airport and the subsequent reduction in airport’s traffic,” Fraport Greece said in a statement.
Fraport Greece is now calling on the government to take swift action and underlines that it had repeatedly warned of potential problems and proposed maintenance and repair works which include shutting down the main runway be carried out in low season.
“Fraport Greece in an effort to address these concerns proposed a number of different solutions. The State – as it was its right – determined that the works should proceed and Fraport Greece is now providing the State appointed contractor all assistance it requires for the speedy and safe completion of the works,” the company said.
In the meantime, the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority said all airlines had been notified of the works and were aware of the ongoing upgrade projects on the main runway. “The runway is certified and safe,” the Authority said in an announcement, adding that works were initially scheduled to begin in March 2017 but were then rescheduled for the current period, in order to avoid any negative effect on tourism in northern Greece ahead of the start of the summer season. Works are scheduled to be completed by March 10, 2018.