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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-07

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 07/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Olympic prepares to cut flights as pilots continue strike
  • OA, govt appeal for understanding from carrier's workforce
  • Athens dismisses Turkish FIR Athens claims
  • Athens comments on ongoing S-300 furore
  • Fishermen threaten to block port over EU directive
  • Church, state agree to cooperate on social issues
  • Formula One champion in Athens to lecture on safe driving
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Olympic prepares to cut flights as pilots continue strike

National carrier Olympic Airways' management will issue its flights programme for January by Saturday, with Macedonian Airlines and Olympic Aviation picking up much of the slack following OA pilots' refusal to work overtime. The administration estimates an 8-10 percent reduction in number of flights, while it is also apprehensive over the reaction of the pilots, whom it fears will start calling in sick in order to force cancellation of flights. OA pilots are refusing to work overtime in order to press demands, including the hiring of more flight personnel. The move has caused cancellations and long delays to domestic and international flights.

OA, govt appeal for understanding from carrier's workforce

OA managing director Theodoros Tsakiridis warned today that if the natinal carrier did not succeed in balancing its budget in 1999, "which I consider a key year", then "it is certain it will not survive". He appealed to all OA employees for dialogue so as to find a solution to maintain the jobs at the national carrier while at the same time securing the airline's survival. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later called the pilots' demands "extreme and completely unreasonable". He said it was inconceivable for demands for 35 percent wage increases to be accepted and called on pilots to think of the greater good.

Athens dismisses Turkish FIR Athens claims

The government on Thursday dismissed as "unfounded and unsubstantiated" Turkish claims that Greece was lacking in its technical responsibilities concerning air traffic control in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR). Saying the Turkish claims were full of inaccuracies, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas accused Ankara of distorting reality in its attempt to turn a purely technical issue into a political one. "Turkey's aim is to change the status quo of air traffic control in the Aegean," Reppas said. A Turkish foreign ministry announcement on Tuesday said Greece had not yet activated an air traffic radar system despite repeated requests by international civil aviation authorities.

Athens comments on ongoing S-300 furore

Athens made clear on Thursday that both the Greek and Cypriot governments were in favour of Russian S-300 missiles, originally ordered by Nicosia for deployment on the divided island, being installed on Crete. "This is the will of both governments and will be implemented," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding that the Cypriot government was in contact with Russia concerning issues related to the anti-aircraft missiles. Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides announced his decision not to install the missiles on the island after a meeting of Cyprus' National Council on December 29. Earlier the same day, he had held talks in Athens with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Greece and Cyprus signed a joint defence pact in 1993.

Fishermen threaten to block port over EU directive

Fishermen in the Nea Mihanionia region of Thessaloniki are threatening to block access to the country's second biggest port in protest at a European Community directive preventing them from fishing within a three-mile zone from the coast. The fishermen were expected to decide on whether and when to block the port at a meeting to be held at midday on Thursday. They had prevented auctioning at the Nea Mihanionia fish market early this morning, affecting sales of both domestically caught and imported fish. One auction had to be held at a local gas station.

Church, state agree to cooperate on social issues

Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Thursday, in what sources says was "a new beginning" in relations between the Church of Greece and the government. Simitis said the hour-long meeting was aimed at coordinating "activities and action so as to deal effectively with various issues." Some of these issues included migration, crime, and relations with the Balkans and Europe, he said. Christodoulos announced that the Church would be beginning a campaign this year to deal with the issues of abuse of children, child pornography, racism and violence. "These are phenomena that are appearing in Greek society for the first time and threaten the values of our culture and quality of life," Christodoulos said. Simitis called the campaign a "completely necessary and very apt initiative".

Formula One champion in Athens to lecture on safe driving

Formula One former world champion Michael Schumacher will visit Athens for a few hours on January 15 where he will address a special event on the subject of safe driving. The visit by Schumacher, world champion with Benetton in 1994 and 1995 before he moved to Ferrari, has been organised by the Hellenic Automobile Touring Association (ELPA) to promote the European Union programme "Ten seconds that can save your life". During the event, the talented German driver will present a special award to ELPA for its role in promoting the programme in Greece. The programme is an international effort to disseminate rules of correct conduct on the roads among the general public.


Mostly fine weather is forecast throughout the country today, with local cloud in the Cyclades islands and Crete. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 6-18 C. Fair weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from -1 to 13 C.


Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 272.731 Pound sterling 451.618 Japanese yen (100) 245.580 French franc 49.127 German mark 164.764 Italian lira (100) 16.643 Irish Punt 409.175 Belgian franc 7.988 Finnish mark 54.199 Dutch guilder 146.231 Danish kr. 43.251 Austrian sch. 23.419 Spanish peseta 1.937 Swedish kr. 34.272 Norwegian kr. 36.690 Swiss franc 199.585 Port. Escudo 1.607 Aus. dollar 169.632 Can. dollar 178.560 Cyprus pound 553.536


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