Changes underway in civil aviation, says aviation expert

New developments are underway in the civil aviation sector with a view to boosting Cyprus’ regional role in the region, civil aviation expert Christos Petrou has told CNA in an interview.

Petrou, who was appointed by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in September as advisor on aviation matters, is the Executive Director of the Mediterranean Institute of Flight Safety and the Aviation Training Institute and has served as International Relations Director of Eurocontrol.

In his interview with CAN, he stresses that “for the first time serious work is being done as regards the political aspect of the aviation sector”.

He says that a comprehensive study is underway to address any possible attempts to open the illegal airport in northern Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Tymbou village, and to deal with the air control centre operating in the occupied areas. The study sets out several scenarios to avert such a development.

A draft copy of the study has already been handed to both President Anastasiades and the  Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, he adds.

Cyprus was divided in 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

An illegal airport operates in the occupied village of Tymbou, which the government of Cyprus, as the sole legitimate and internationally recognized authority on the island, has declared it since 1974 an illegal point of entry. The Cyprus government is prevented from exercising its jurisdiction over the northern Turkish occupied part of its territory, as a result of the continuing Turkish military occupation.

Petrou reveals that when he pays Israel a visit on November 18, he will be discussing with Israeli Civil Aviation Director General Giora Romm a project on preparing common safety procedures or even the establishment of a joint control centre for helicopters to be used on off shore natural gas facilities within Cyprus and Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zones.

The project has already received the green light from President Anastasiades and Minister of Communications and Works Tassos Mitsopoulos, he says.

Referring to the Civil Aviation Department, he stresses the final and irrevocable decision of President Anastasiades to change its institutional structure.

Eurocontrol experts are expected soon in Cyprus to undertake a study on how to proceed with these changes, he adds.

On October 31, Petrou says, he meets again with Cyprus President to review the progress achieved so far on the implementation of an initially agreed action plan.

During the meeting, he intends to present his views on the creation of a pilot simulation training centre in Cyprus.

Petrou also reveals that he proposed a plan C for the troubled national air carrier, Cyprus Airways, which provides for the establishment of a new company, with the participation in its share capital by 49% of an internationally acclaimed air carrier, which will also take over the operations of the new company.

The remaining share capital would be owned by the state and other investors, he concludes

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