Greek taxi drivers cause tourist chaos by blocking Athens airport

Ruth Doherty

Greek taxi drivers are causing thousands of holidaymakers chaos as they block the roads that lead to Athens International Airport and the Port of Piraeus, as well as other tourist sites, in protest against the latest round of government reforms.

About 2,000 taxis lined up on the highway leading to Athens International; with only one lane left there is a five-mile backup. At the Port of Piraeus, from which cruises and inter-island ferries embark, drivers are lined up along the coastal road and blocking the gate to the cruise ships' dock.

According to Reuters, fifteen international and domestic flights have averaged a 20-minute delay Monday morning. And, with 10 ships docked at Piraeus, 16,000 cruise tourists could be affected.

The ticked-ff taxi drivers began the two-day strike to protest a decision by the government to liberalise theirs and a number of other regulated professions. In the drivers' case, the government plans to charge a fee to issue taxi licenses, which would put an end to the practice by which drivers could sell their licenses for tens of thousands of Euro, reports the agency.

The drivers plan to extend their protest if necessary.

In June, visitors to Greece found their travel plans thwarted by a Greek trade union strike. The two-day public sector walkout was also to protest new government reforms, in that case the passage of a controversial economic package.

Greece has been plagued with financial woes for some time. According to CNN, the country's national debt of €300 billion (about $421 billion) is larger than its economy, and its credit rating is the lowest in the Eurozone.

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