Ávarp sem samgönguráðherra flutti í dag á Pristína flugvellinum í Kosovo (á ensku).
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here today one year after Iceland formally took over command of Pristina Airport from the Italian Air Force. Iceland has since then been the leading nation for the operation of the airport as a part of the NATO Peacekeeping Force, KFOR. During this time the Airport has been transformed in many ways. Today we are operating according to ICAO standards and procedures. Taxiways have been improved, technical equipment has been procured, a new fire station built, and storage facilities have been erected. Number of local Kosovar´s have been trained to take on the job of operating the airport in the future. Today, the airport has around 36 trained local fire fighters and 12 more are in training. Today, we have around 16 fully trained local air traffic controllers. All this has been achieved while operating the airport at full capacity thanks to the dedication of the multi-national force serving here and the local personnel. It is in large measure, thanks to you, – the Pristina APOD Multi-national force that we have achieved so much in such a short time.
Now that KFOR and Iceland, as the airport authority, turn all operations and air services over to UNMIK, I would like to acknowledge the spirit of cooperation that has been extended to us by the Special Representative, – Mr. Holkeri and his team. With the Framework Agreement on Airport Operations after 1 April in place, the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration will, – on behalf of UNMIK – ensure that all ICAO safety standards in air operations are met after this transition to civil status. This agreement is limited in time.
One fundamental issue that still needs to be put in place is transforming the management of the airport under one single corporate entity based on previous KTA board resolutions from January 2004. Therefore Iceland must be involved in the process of developing the regulations incorporating the Airport and a deadline must be set for the completion of this work without further delay.
Colonel Halli Sigurðsson, and his team of Icelandic specialists, deserve our special thanks for their hard work in this, as in so many other good things that have been and will be accomplished here at the airport and for the airport.
Icelandic aviation authorities have had a long-standing co-operation with ICAO and have been involved in international air traffic services over the North- Atlantic for half a century. It is this experience that makes it easier to take on this task here at Pristina airport.
I especially want to thank President Rugova and Prime Minister Rexheppi for their co-operation and support in ensuring the success of this project.
I would also like to note that the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration will continue ensuring that the airport will be operated according to ICAO standards.
Finally, let me wish our distinguished guests all the very best – as UNMIK with locally trained personnel, takes over the many airport functions that have been carried out by the international community. It is my hope that events of the last few weeks will not delay the process of integrating Kosovo into Europe. It is also my hope that this significant hand-over of Pristina airport operations will mark a new beginning for Kosovo, for its young generation and for the future of all Kosovars.
As a minister of transport and communications, it is my wish that this project will be successful, so that we will be able to look back on it with pride.