Small signs of recovery in air traffic
What messages were sent by the first 15 days of June by flights and arrivals at Greek airports. Volotea returns to “Eleftherios Venizelos”. Positive signals from the Dutch market.
A gradual recovery in passenger traffic, both domestic and international, for the first 15 days of June is indicated by the data, with the absence of the British market, however, being evident especially at the country’s regional airports.
According to reports, the first 15 days of the first month of summer ended at Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” with a decrease of approximately 60% in passenger traffic compared to the same period in 2019, when the same percentage in May was 74.4%.
Similarly, in the period January-15 June, passenger traffic recorded an 80% drop compared to the same period in 2019, with the five-month period January-May showing a drop of 82% compared to 2019.
In terms of flights, the first 15 days of June recorded a drop of about 35% compared to the same period in 2019, while the number of scheduled seats showed a decrease of about 40%, with new routes and the resumption of flights that had been discontinued in the last 15 months acting as a catalyst in the even slight recovery of passenger traffic at the country’s largest airport.
The absence of British travellers at the country’s regional airports is more pronounced, with reports indicating that passenger traffic at the 14 airports managed by Fraport Greece was at levels similar to those of May for the first 15 days of June, down 80% compared to the same month in 2019. In fact, it seems that passenger traffic for the period January-15 June is at -70% compared to 2019.
Resumption of flights by Volotea
Encouraging, however, for the revival of the tourist flow from abroad is expected to work the restart of flights of Volotea – the airline that connects medium-sized cities in Europe – which this year will fly from Athens to 11 destinations (Bari airport, Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Lyon, Marseille, Marseille, Mykonos, Rhodes airport, Strasbourg, Venice, Verona, Santorini airport), offering a total of 350. 000 seats and giving its own vote of confidence in the prospects of Greek tourism.
Since the launch of its Athens operations in 2015, Volotea has offered a total of 1.3 million seats, while for 2022, the company already has 3 new routes in its sales system: to Cagliari airport, Genoa and Split.
The airline will fly from its Athens base with an all-Airbus fleet, having replaced its Boeing 717s with 2 A319 aircraft, offering more seats per flight (156 versus 125 seats).
The Dutch return
Tourism operators are expecting a further boost to the tourist flow, as from Sunday Dutch tourists will again be able to travel freely in Greece, except for Attica, with major tour operators active in this market having already started their first flights to the Greek islands.
Dutch travellers will reportedly not be required to be quarantined on their return to their home country, nor will they have to undergo a test to diagnose COVID-19.
The Dutch market is particularly dynamic for Greek tourism, given that in 2018 the number of Dutch travellers to Greece exceeded 1 million, while last year only 257,000 Dutch people visited Greece.
According to the Bank of Greece, the most popular destinations for the Dutch in Greece are Crete, the South Aegean, and the Ionian Islands, with their Average Per Capita Expenditure for 2019 reaching 652.7 euros, 15.7% higher than the Average Per Capita Expenditure recorded for the country as a whole (564 euros).