File slot requests now for ’04 Games

 - January 31, 2007, 5:33 AM

Corporate aircraft operators wanting to fly to Athens, Greece, for the summer Olympic Games have once again been urged to file slot requests sooner rather than later. The games will run from August 13 to 29, but slot restrictions will be imposed throughout Greece from July 15 until September 30.

Under rules issued by the Greek civil aviation authority in November, all general aviation operators have to apply for slots through their handling agent, who has to assign a confirmation number for each aircraft requiring a slot. Without this confirmation number, slot allocations will be rejected. According to Athens Aviation Services, initial slot assignments should be made at the end of this month, and the company has warned that slots might be much harder to obtain beyond this date.

Early next month the Greek authorities are expected to announce which alternate airports will be used to accommodate overflow traffic from the new Athens International Airport. Many business aircraft operators are likely to be forced to use alternates and, according to Athens Aviation Services executive aircraft account manager Jutte Boutens, this will spark a frantic scramble to secure convenient hotel accommodations. She warned that operators who are asked by their companies to arrange last-minute trips to the Olympic games are likely to face serious access and logistical problems.

Also next month, new takeoff signs and markings will be installed at Athens International Airport. In March, markings for a new dual-taxiway system will be put in place.

The CAA has also made it clear that operators will be required to stick closely to their assigned slot times and will face “very high” penalties for not doing so. For flights shorter than four hours a margin of 20 minutes will be tolerated, and for longer flights this will be extended to just 30 minutes. Once operators have been assigned slots, they need to be alert to further information on aircraft parking requirements, which will be issued through notams and AIPs. Athens Aviation Services can be contacted at