BUSINESS

Air arrivals drop by up to 84%

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism, Transport

Anyone hoping that Greece’s successful handling of the pandemic and its opening to international tourism in early July would give Greek tourism a good push are starting to experience disappointment as arrivals fail to take off.

This disappointing performance is reflected not just in low occupancy rates at the hotels that have reopened, but also in figures concerning the main entry gates from abroad: Passenger traffic at the country’s airports in the first 12 days of July has contracted dramatically by between 75% and 84% in Athens and the 14 regional airports respectively.

Furthermore, available seats on airplanes are already down by 60%-65% compared with last year, as carriers try to balance out their spending with reduced demand by stopping services or using smaller aircraft.

The statistics show that international passenger traffic has predictably dropped far more than domestic traffic, which is usually the other way around during the typical summer season. At the 14 regional airports managed by Fraport Greece, including Thessaloniki’s Makedonia, in the first 12 days of July domestic flights recorded a decline by 47.9%, while international ones posted a reduction of 71%.

Passenger traffic at those airports was down 62.1% for domestic flights and 87.9% for international, leading to an overall reduction rate of 83.8%.

On July 1-12, just 262,980 passengers landed at or departed from the 14 regional airports, against 1.62 million at the same time last year. There were 1.2 million fewer international flight passengers, while domestic flights only showed a slide by 161,000 passengers.

The situation is slightly better at Athens International Airport: Passenger traffic over the first 12 days of July was down by 75% from last year, with 55% fewer flights and 63% fewer seats made available by carriers. This follows a reduction of 87.9% in June, 96.3% in May and 98.8% in April.

Across the 14 regional airports, June was only marginally better than the previous two months, posting a reduction by 95.7% compared to the same month last year.

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