Athens airport Customs is now installing integrated IT based communication systems throughout cargo operations.
Since the new airport at Athens was opened nearly 10 years ago, the cargo community has worked closely to improve service levels. The different cargo committee members, who attended the recent Air Cargo Europe exhibition in Munich, are all dedicated to a group approach to cargo development. One of the priorities has been to address the problems of customs formalities and the levels of cooperation.
Mrs.. Vasiliki Kalamara, who took over as Head of Airport Customs some 18 months ago comments: ‘It is vital that we provide a fast and flexible service to encourage more freight traffic at this airport. Being an active member of the cargo committee has helped us to identify the various challenges and changes needed to fulfil customers’ needs and remain competitive in the international market. Following on from the Olympic Games four years ago we have gradually introduced more flexible procedures and operating hours particularly for freighters mostly operating at night. With reasonable notice we are able to provide customs clearance around the clock when needed. This is making Athens airport an increasingly attractive hub for freighter operators and integrators. In cooperation with the EU we plan to install fully integrate e-communications during 2009/10. This is a major task and we are already holding a series of seminars to introduce the project to the entire cargo community. It is our aim to get the system up and running during 2010. Having our entire cargo system online brings us to the same level as other European airports.’
Proactive customs service is of course a key link in the supply chain at any airport and Mrs. Kalamara is very much aware of this. ‘We consider ourselves to be a vital player within the cargo community at Athens. We accepted the invitation of the cargo development team of Athens International Airport to promote the airport at Munich along with a dozen members of the cargo team, including handlers, forwarders and airlines. With this new IT system backed by excellent ground handling services, airport’s cargo community can offer its customers a first class cargo platform, equal of any within the industry.