In Greece, GA Struggles To Be Born

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While Australia's GA community has problems, in Greece, no GA community even exists. "Which is precisely why the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) decided to hold their biennial World Assembly in Athens," the group said this week. "Yiouli Kalafati, president of AOPA Hellas (Greece), wanted to show Greek authorities what they could gain by promoting, rather than restricting, general aviation," said Phil Boyer, president of IAOPA and AOPA-USA. "The presence of general aviation representatives from 26 different nations around the world helped change attitudes in Athens." Kostas Hatzidakis, the Greek Minister of Transportation, attended the meeting, held June 9 to 14. "His perspective on GA was positive and forward looking," said Boyer. "This attitude can only help the cause of GA in Greece. We are pleased to see that holding our World Assembly in Greece has had a positive effect on the government's perception of GA."

About 125 delegates and observers from around the world attended the IAOPA World Assembly. Pilots from other nations counseled U.S. pilots to continue resisting user fees. Direct user charges have only harmed GA in other parts of the world, AOPA said. Also, IAOPA resolved to urge national and international regulatory authorities to permit affordable and practical alternatives to emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) for general aviation. The group also addressed security issues, and sponsored Icarus 2008, the first air show and general aviation Aero Expo in Athens.