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Extension of Thessaloniki Metro to Makedonia Airport necessary after the completion of upgrade projects

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The extension of Thessaloniki Metro to Makedonia Airport is now deemed imperative. Following the foundation ceremony of the airport’s new Terminal yesterday and the solemn statements of many officials, it has been made clear that one of the city’s major projects is now on track for implementation.

By 2021, Makedonia Airport will have a state-of-the-art Terminal (with double capacity), accompanied by an upgraded runway and very encouraging predictions regarding the passenger traffic.

This, combined with the completion of all railway projects and signalling systems by the end of 2019, on the Athens-Thessaloniki corridor, the city will benefit greatly and there will be a clear increase in passenger traffic with the train as well.

However, what is missing today, is the connection of Makedonia Airport with the Metro that will, automatically, mean the connection of the Thessaloniki Central Railway Station with the Airport. Otherwise, it would be incomprehensible if 2 major pieces of transport infrastructure that have been developed in the city, hadn’t any direct connection between them, as it is the case in all major cities.

For example, Athens International Airport is directly connected with the city center and the Central Railway Station with 2 means of fixed rail transport; the suburban railway and Athens Metro.

In the case of Thessaloniki, this plan is close to its implementation too. From the Eastern end of Thessaloniki Metro Main Line, the terminal station will be New Railway Station, which will be constructed below the current station on the surface. According to Attiko Metro’s schedule, it will operate in 2022 along with Dimokratia, Aghia Sophia and Venizelos stations that will complete the Main Line.

Eastbound, construction works of the extension to Mikra (the so-called Kalamaria Branch) are also at an advanced stage and, according to the plans of Attiko Metro, the extension to the Airport, of approximately 5 km, will be overground, on a special railway bridge and 3 new stations (Scholi Polemou, IKEA and Thermi) before the new terminal at Makedonia Airport.

This solution has been chose also for budget purposes (the thinking is that an underground project is both more unpredictable and more costly), but also it will be completed much sooner. This extension will be implemented in the same way that Copenhagen Metro was extended to its own Airport.

The first exploratory contacts have already been made with both local authorities and Fraport Greece, in order to finalize the line’s design and studies. Undoubtedly, by the time of Thessaloniki International Airport delivery in 2021 and a Metro system in operation, and a significantly upgraded rail network, would be a great opportunity for the establishment of a direct link to the Airport and the city center and the Railway Station.

Funding could be covered by NSRF 2021-2027, and if the project’s budget doesn’t exceed the estimated 250-300mln euros, the Region could also contribute from its own Operational Program. After all, it is very promising that the Region of Central Macedonia, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Municipality of Kalamaria and the Municipality of Thermi, where the Airport belongs administratively, are willing and ready to help in any way for this major extension.

 

Nikos Karagiannis-ypodomes.com

Follow Nikos Karagiannis on Twitter and Linkedin

 

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