From the second of October until the eighth, an important equestrian event, the Onassis Horse international Show, took place in Athens. The occasion once again gave the cargo team at the airport an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in handling special cargo shipments. On this occasion Athens welcomed a total of 61 of the world’s most valuable horses, in 25 special stalls as well as 12.5 tons of equipment on seven pallets. There were 34 attendants to care for the horses, 11 travelling with the horses on the freighter flight and the 23 others arriving on the scheduled KLM flight from Amsterdam. The freighter aircraft was a B747 from EL-AL and ground handling was carried out by Olympic Airways Services. The horses returned to Amsterdam on Monday October 8th.
The Onassis Equestrian event, part of the Global Champions Tour, held in the Olympic Markopoulo Centre, attracted over fifty top riders from around the world competing for cash prizes of more than 450,000 Euros.
Following the success of the Olympic Games’ horse shipments, the Young Rider competition and several other events, Athens has established a worldwide reputation for holding first class equestrian events but also for handling the valuable and temperamental horses with great expertise. However, apart from this highly specialised traffic, Alexis Sioris and his team, together with the airport cargo community, are developing an excellent reputation for cargo capability for handling all types of cargo including Sea-Air.
‘Concerning the physical facilities at AIA, we have enough capacity to double our current throughput,’ states Sioris, ‘and with four cargo terminals operated by independent handlers, working in 30,000m’ of warehouses, and 7,000m’ of offices, the airport is well equipped to handle the expected increases over the next few years. It is also our plan, when the moment is right, to develop a cargo village within the airport complex.
Athens international airport is a member of the Animal Transportation Association (AATA).