Good evening ladies and gentlemen.
It is generally recognized that the success or failure of any international, public , or private Organisation, is a reflection of the quality, experience and dedication of its members .
Akrivos Tsolakis is member of the “Flight Safety Foundation “. I understand he is also the longest sensing member, one can say, by glancing at his CV, that he is a thoroughbread pedigree aviation man. Perhaps the only thing that is missing, is that he was not born in an airplane! That of course is because he was not asked.
Akrivos Tsolakis holds a wide range of academic qualifications. After completing the Hellenic Aviation Academy , he joined the US Air Force Academy and from there on, he obtained Degrees in Aviation Safety from the University of Southern California and the Polytechnic of Stockholm.
He joined the Hellenic Air Force as a combat and transport pilot, and had 160 combat missions during the Korean War. He rose to the post of Director of Aviation safety and he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He worked for 25 years as a Pilot with Olympic Airways, where he had the opportunity to fly, B727,B707, A300 and B747. He also worked as Head of Aviation and Ground safety.
His flying experience totals 18.600 hours in 21 different types of aircraft.
Akrivos holds various honours and decorations such as : war cross and Service medal of valor from the Greek State, three Air medals and a Presidential Unit Citation from the USA, a Hwarang Gold Star from Korea and several others.
He has organized numerous seminars and workshops in many countries, relating to air safety.
Currently Akrivos Tsolakis is the Chairman of the Hellenic Air Accident Investigation Committee, a member of the group of experts of the European Union for aviation Safety, the Chairman of the FSF South east Europe, a member of the FSF Board of Governors and a member of the FSF European Advisory Committee.
For us, in Cyprus, Akrivos is a well known and respected and loved figure. He came to know Cyprus, and we came to know him under tragic conditions. As you know he was in charge of the investigation for the accident of flight 522 that happened in August 2005.
The way that he conducted that investigation and the timing of its completion as well as the quality of his report was commented by many people from several countries and international bodies.
His recommendations contained in his report , have been adopted by BOEING , the FAA and others involved.
As an advisor to the Minister of Communications and Works, Akrivos has provided the Cyprus Government with valuable advice as regards to air safety and contributed significantly to the improvements we have made so far.
For all these reasons , on behalf of the State of Cyprus, I would like to thank and honour Akrivos Tsolakis with this small symbolic Award.
Mr Tsolakis, thank you very much, and may God bless you and your loved ones.