Epitalio airport about to reopen
The airport of Epitalio in Ilia, which has been closed for 10 years, has now reopened, with the key role of aeroclub of Pyrgos in the efforts.
Epitalio Airport is approximately 11 km from Pyrgos Town
Regarding the issue of reopening, the Civil Aviation Service, according to the Deputy Regional Governor of Ilia, Vassilis Giannopoulos, prepared a report on the suitability of the site for the establishment of a light aircraft landing area at the airport facilities, setting theimplementation of work and interventions at the airport as a prerequisite. When the specific report was notified to the deputy governor, the latter ordered the competent services to carry out the required actions, in order to carry out the final audit and to issue the necessary operating license.
Among the required works are the installation of wind turbines, the supply and installation of firefighting and rescue equipment, the configuration of the physical characteristics that the runway should have and the markings. According to the vice-governor, the directorate of technical projects of the regional unit of Ilia has already completed the preparation of the technical report for the supply of logistical infrastructure.
In particular, two windmills and two steel masts, seven and four meters respectively, will be supplied for their installation, along with firefighting and rescue equipment, such as a water tank, a liquid production system, a dry dust fire extinguisher, rescue equipment, etc. All of the above must meet national and European standards, in accordance with the fire safety regulations for airports, helipads and aircraft landing areas.
According to Vassilis Giannopoulos, "With the supply and installation of the above equipment and the completion of the required works, the inspection by the Civil Aviation Service will follow, in order to give the final approval of the suitability of the airport". "Thus, initially", he continues, "the way is open for the realization of light aircraft flights, but our goal and pursuit, apart from the reopening of the airport, is the strengthening of its character and role".
In the meantime, according to information from Athenian-Macedonian News Agancy, the procedures have progressed, in order to resolve the issue of the property status that existed in plots adjacent to the airport, while the problem that existed with the land registry has already been solved. At the same time, according to the same information,a very large area that reaches about 100 acres is expected to be integrated with the existing property of the airport shortly.
For his part, the president of the Pyrgos Aeroclub and retired officer of the Air Force, Theodoros Giannakoulias, speaking to the AMNA about the possibilities of the airport, stressed that "it can host a large number of pilots, trainers and trained pilots from Greece and from abroad, who at the same time will be able to stay for a few days in our area and visit the archeological treasures and the popular beaches ".
Referring to the advantages of Epitalio airport, he points out that "the airport runway is about 1,050 meters long, ie it is the same or larger than those of Naxos, Milos and Astypalea, where commercial flights are performed". Staying at the advantages, he emphasizes that "it is also an economical solution for the operators, since they will pay much less money for fuel, as well as for landing and parking fees, compared to other airports". In fact, as he states, "I know that light aircraft operators want to land at small airports, as long as the safety conditions are met."
At the same time, he notes that "there is also interest from pilots from foreign countries, such as Italy and Switzerland, since the distance, especially from Italy, is not great, due to the geographical location of Epitalio". Also, Theodoros Giannakoulias stated "with the reopening of the airport of Epitalio, trainers and trainee pilots from the seven schools that operate at Megaron airport will be able to come here".
The history of the airport
The airport of Epitalio is located at a distance of about 11 km from the city of Pyrgos and next to the main road that connects the area with the archeological sites of Ancient Olympia, Epicurean Apollo and Ancient Elis, as well as other popular tourist areas of Ilia. This specific airport operated in 1975 in an area next to the dried lake of Agoulinitsa, it hosted the "Petzetel" type firefighting aircrafts for a long time, but it stopped operating in 2010.