March 1, 2012 / 4:21 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Alstom-Avax consortium wins Athens metro project

ATHENS, March 1 (Reuters) - France’s Alstom Transport has won a 515 million euro ($689 million) contract to expand the Athens subway, along with Greek construction company J.P. Avax and Italy’s Ghella Spa, which specialises in tunnelling.

“We are trying to accelerate these big projects, and one example is this contract,” Transport Minister Makis Voridis told reporters.

Greece’s construction sector has been hit hard as the economy struggles through its fifth straight year of recession.

The consortium will build a 7.6 kilometre subway line to the port of Piraeus, extending the subway network and bringing passengers to the port from the city’s airport.

The new line will include six stations and is expected to be completed by 2017.

The project, awarded by Attiko Metro SA, will be financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and EU structural funds.

Alstom has been present in Greece since 1991 and was involved in building other subway lines for the Athens metro. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Will Waterman)

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