With the Athens Summer 2004 Olympic Games rapidly approaching, IATA has won agreement from Greece and Turkey for its vast action plan designed to expand air navigation capacity and efficiency in south-eastern Europe. Working in close cooperation, IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the governments of Greece and Turkey, and nine other countries in the area have approved a technical and operational plan to improve their air navigation route network.

As of December 2003, the agreement will implement the new route network, mainly within Athens and Istanbul Flight Information Regions (FIR). The plan addresses long-standing airspace needs and will usher in significant improvement in capacity and flight efficiency in the area.

In addition to providing additional links to meet the expected high traffic demands related to the Athens Olympic Games, airlines will gain significant operational benefits as will the countries themselves.

The efficiencies gained will enable Athens and Istanbul FIRs to increase the number of flights by about 15%, and means that airlines can achieve operational cost savings of approximately 40 million Euros per year.

IATA and ICAO have demonstrated that they play an essential role in improving overall co-operation between governments," said Giovanni Bisignani Director General and CEO of IATA. "This success sets an excellent precedent in reaching solutions that mutually benefit all countries involved".

This achievement confirms that the governments of Greece and Turkey are committed to improving European infrastructure and shows their recognition of the international civil aviation community's needs.