Bumpy Start for New SkyGreece Airlines

By on June 17, 2015

A new airline touting to connect Greece with the North American diaspora got off to a bumpy start. According to an official SkyGreece press release, a flight departing Athens for Toronto lost cabin pressure and was forced to return to Athens an hour after take off.

“On Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 17:49 local Greek time, GW423 departed for schedule service to Toronto from Athens. An hour into the flight, the captain detected a technical problem due to the loss of pressure in the cabin. The captain made a decision to return to base for an immediate technical evaluation. At 19:10 local Greek time, the aircraft landed safely at Athens International Airport without any incident to either passengers or crew. No emergency landing was ever declared. Within a few hours, passengers were transferred to a hotel, offered dinner and breakfast the next morning, and were re protected on a direct flight the next day back to Toronto on Monday June 15.”

The Aviation Herald, however, state that an emergency descent was in fact ordered.

“A Skygreece Airlines Boeing 767-300, registration SX-BPN performing flight GW-423 from Athens (Greece) to Toronto,ON (Canada) with 33 passengers and 11 crew, was climbing through FL330 about 110nm northwest of Athens when the crew initiated an emergency descent to FL100 due to the loss of cabin pressure. The aircraft returned to Athens for a safe landing about one hour after departure.”

A commenter claiming to be a passenger on the flight said that passengers’ safety was compromised.

“I was on this flight and our safety was definitely compromised. There are many flights that crash due to loss of pressure. I am not a pilot nor a maintenance tech however I was a passenger on this flight and have never experienced such terror in my life. The oxygen bags did drop however they did NOT work, in fact they had to bring an oxygen Tank to provide to a passenger passing out? The aftermath was completely disorganized and handled totally unprofessionally. I would certainly never board a 31 year old plane again and I still have numb feet and my friend has a sore ear drumb (sic). Could this be due to a major drop in altitude? I suppose the hospital is the next visit.

SkyGreece was founded by three Greek Canadians, including a Greek Orthodox priest.

According to the airline’s Facebook page, which was set up on September 27 2012, the airline was founded by Peter Chilakos, Fr Nicholas Alexandris and Bill Alefantis. Father Alexandris serves as company president, while Mr. Chilakos is Vice President of Cargo Operations.

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