Greece is a lifeline for carriers
Three years after closing some of its Greek airport hubs, Ryanair is bouncing back with the launch of three new hubs on Greek islands, it announced last week, illustrating the recovery of demand for Greek destinations. The Irish airline is not alone in betting on the Greek islands for a rebound this summer, as a great number of its peers are also eyeing the growing interest in Greece as a means of regaining some of the altitude lost due to the pandemic.
Potential travelers appear eager to choose short-haul flights to relatively safe destinations, making Greece and its islands a top option. Combined with the massive drop in long-haul flights (for business or recreation), this has led to airlines offering many more seats to Greek destinations, plus a surge in domestic flights for airlines such as Aegean.
“The connection of our airports with destinations abroad through more direct flights has always been a crucial factor of growth, and the current conditions bring that target closer,” Giorgos Vilos, director of development at Fraport Greece, tells Kathimerini.
The official of the company that operates 14 regional airports in the country adds that “the available data show that an increasing number of travelers appear to be choosing destinations with direct and short flights, which airlines take seriously into account when forming their networks. Greece fulfills both requirements, and, combined with its world-renowned tourism product, it is particularly attractive, especially for European travelers.”
Local flag carrier Aegean has created seven new hubs and will double its services between London and Greek destinations this summer.
Rival Sky Express has also increased its services for this summer, connecting Greek destinations with foreign airports such as Brussels and Larnaca.
British Airways is considering the introduction of larger aircraft such as Boeing 787s and 777s and Airbus SE A350s – currently grounded at Heathrow – to shorter routes such as those to the Mediterranean.
The Air France-KLM group is shifting to flights out of Paris not only to Athens but also to Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes and Iraklio, while Qatar Airways will link Doha with Mykonos.