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Athens’ International Airport first major facelift completed

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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The biggest facelift in the 16 years of AIA’s operation was completed just a few days ago. Costing 35mn euros, interior refurbishments both in Intra Schengen and Extra Schengen zones transformed the airport terminal for the better.

A new philosophy was introduced with regard to its interior design, with larger spaces, futuristic lighting and revamped passengers’ lobbies in a dominating, white colour, inspiring harmony combined with a touch of elegant contemporary elements.

All retail stores were also refurbished. It is noteworthy that 15 out of 35mn euros spent on the facelift came from the Airport whereas the remaining 20mn from the commercial concessionaires. JP AVAX was the contractor of the project.

Mr. Giannis Eleftherakis, Development CEO of the Airport, emphasized that these changes will bring a major improvement of the passenger’s experience in the Airport; “The passenger will now be able to reach the airplane, without having to talk to anybody in the meantime”, he added regarding the automatization of several procedures.

Mr. Costas Theodorogiannopoulos, Technical Services Manager, noted that the main target was the upgrade of the Airport’s facilities and infrastructure, the reinforcement of the commercial activities and the enhancement of the passenger’s experience. “9 check points were reduced to just 2, without compromising security, while the retail space is now unified with catering stores making the visitor’s shopping even more pleasant. Regarding the automatic entrance check points, the Airport is now equipped with 9 of them, accelerating the flow of passengers considerably”.

Futuristic and anti-stress design

The lighting is a very central element in this, innovative design, used to some extent in order to distract the eye from the industrial celeing of the Airport. Extra Schengen spaces were already upgraded between October 2014 and April 2015 while Intra Schengen zone between September 2016 and April 2017, where the extended facelift resulted in 15,000 s.m. of revamped space including 126 stores (64 retail, 34 catering and 28 services) as well as time reduction for the passengers’ access to the gates by 15 minutes.

A “Greeker” Airport with more Greek stores than ever, featuring even a souvlaki restaurant for the very first time is another result of the facelift. Extra Schengen zone aesthetically refers to the ancient Arcades whereas the Intra Schengen Zone draws parallels with the Agora and the “Platia”, the Square always with a unique feeling of Greek-ness in them.

Ypodomes.com asked about the ever-increasing traffic of AIA and how the recent works will be able to adequately keep it in good operation. It is reminded that last year, AIA passed the threshold of 20mn passengers with this year’s estimate being roughly 22mn, 2mn more than the previous record-breaking year. The maximum capacity of the Airport is 26mn passengers, so, many adjustments will be continuously undertaken in order to maintain a good level of services and experience. A striking omission, which is an easy fix, is the lack of chargers embedded in the new seats, a feature that is widely spread in many Airports of similar size in the rest of Europe and will be addressed soon as Mr. Theodorogiannopoulos certified.

 

Nikos Karagiannis-ypodomes.com

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Crete: Proposal for the introduction of electrified railway, under consideration

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For the very first time in the modern history of Crete, the discussion for the development of a railway that will reinforce transports in the island, linking its main cities, begins in the form of studies.

During a meeting of the Environmental Committee of the Region of Crete, held yesterday, the proposal for the introduction of a railway axis on the island was examined. The proposal was made by the Deputy Regional Chief for the Environment, Mr. Nikos Kalogeris, who noted that he intends to start a relevant survey (apparently icluding viability and cost efficiency studies) for a fixed-track, electrified means of transport, running along Crete  island.

The construction of a railway in Crete has been a long-standing issue, as the relevant conversation has begun since 1880, without ever being able to proceed. From time to time proposals have been presented, that always ended up in the drawers of ministries and local authorities.

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PM office and Investments’ Ministry, activated for Hellinikon project

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The general coordination for the boost of Hellinikon project will be undertaken by the Growth and Investments’ Ministry, as it has been agreed at a political level yesterday, between the Prime Minister, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the newly appointed Investments’ Minister, Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, along with the deputy Ministers, Yannis Tsakiris, Nikos Papathanassis and Christos Dimas, setting the priorities for the next six months.

«On the instructions of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Growth and Investments, undertakes the general coordination of the investment in Hellinikon, at a political level, in cooperation with the Prime Ministerial Office», Mr. Georgiadis stressed at the end of the meeting.

The Minister reiterated the political will to run the project immediately, acknowledging that it is a «complex project», adding that first, the tender  for the casino must be launched and pending decisions must be reached by the Council of State .

He, however, appeared optimistic, risking the prediction that by the end of the year, bulldozers should enter construction site of Hellinikon. «We are trying too hard for this and we will succeed,» said Mr. Georgiadis.

It is reminded that earlier today, Mr. Georgiadis was informed about problems related to the investment by the President of the investment entity and Mayor of Hellinikon municipality, while yesterday he saw the CEO of Lamda Development.

Direct priorities of the Gov’t for the unbloking of the investment are: the preparation and issuing of the 3 core JMDs, the transfer of all activities remaining in the site and the completion of the casino tender.

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Hydrogen fuel cell train on test in Bavaria

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One of Alstom’s two prototype Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell multiple units was tested in normal operating conditions in northeast Bavaria on July 8.

The test run between Bayreuth and Coburg was organised jointly by train operator Agilis, the state’s Ministry of Housing, Construction and Transport and the Bavarian Railway Company (BEG).

Bavaria is looking to switch to alternative forms of traction on diesel-operated lines in the medium to long-term. Under the Bavarian Rail Electromobility Strategy (Bess), which has been approved by the state government, pilot projects will be implemented using different types of alternative traction including batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.

“We want to use more environmentally-friendly traction on Bavarian passenger trains,” says state minister for housing, construction and transport Mr Hans Reichhart. “In addition to electrification, we are pushing ahead with the introduction of hydrogen technology in the railway sector like no other German state. We are investing more than €25m in state funds to support further research into this technology.”

Lower Saxony became the first German state to order hydrogen trains in November 2017, when Lower Saxony Transport Authority (LNVG) awarded Alstom a contract to supply 14 iLints for services around Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven. The prototype trains entered commercial service in September 2018 and the production trains are due to arrivie in 2021.

In May Rhine-Main Transport Authority (RMV) announced an order for 27 iLint sets, which will replace diesel trains in the Taunus region north of Frankfurt from 2022 onward.

 

Source: railjournal.com

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