The availability of air seats to regional airports in Greece from foreign markets this year will only rise by 1 million over 2016, and not 3.5 million as carriers had originally planned for, according to data from the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).
Andreas Andreadis, SETE’s head, said the additional seats (not concerning Athens International Airport) point to an increase of just 6 percent compared to those available in 2016. That may be a positive indication for the new season but it clips the high expectations created upon the publication of the airlines’ provisional schedules.
Andreadis attributed this seat growth slowdown to a number of reasons, one being the merging of flights by several air companies.
Separately, the SETE chief reversed the picture on foreign arrivals, adding the factor of the emigration of Greeks in recent years. He told Kathimerini over 500,000 Greeks who have left Greek for economic reasons visit Greece once or twice a year, amounting to some 1-2 million arrivals per annum. The rise in Athens Airport arrivals last month was mainly due to them and not foreign tourists, he said.