TOURISM

Airports see strong rise in annual traffic

airports-see-strong-rise-in-annual-traffic

In the first eight months of this year passenger traffic at Athens International Airport exceeded that of 2020, serving a total of 6.6 million passengers.

That figure remains 61.6% below that of 2019, which serves to show that despite the gradual recovery thanks to the easing of restrictions since mid-May and the peak of the summer holidays, it will take time for the gap the pandemic has opened to be bridged.

When comparing last month with August 2019, the data that AIA released showed that the strongest recovery concerns domestic traffic, which only lagged that of two years ago by 19.4%, while international traffic has also recovered from the 2020 slump, reaching just 35.4% below that of August 2019.

In total, Eleftherios Venizelos Airport served 2.1 million passengers last month, up a considerable 75.3% from August 2020, but down 30.6% from August 2019, when tourism in Greece posted an all-time record.

Over the January-August period, passenger traffic at the country’s main airport rose 10.6% year-on-year, with domestic traffic growing 19% to 2.6 million passengers and international traffic growing 5.7% to almost 4 million.

The picture has clearly improved at the 14 regional airports that Fraport manages, with estimates pointing to a likely recovery of 60% of the traffic seen in record year 2019 for 2021 as a whole.

While the total number of passengers at the 14 airports last month was 20% below August 2019, Santorini actually outperformed that record month by 6%. There were relatively small shortfalls (10-15%) at the airports of Mykonos, Hania and Corfu and moderate ones (20-30%) at Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Aktio, Kos and Zakynthos. The biggest declines were recorded at the airports of Skiathos and Cephalonia, amounting to 40% from August 2019, as these two destinations are heavily dependent on British tourists.

Eurocontrol data show that in August the number of flights in Greece amounted to 90% of that in August 2019, with domestic flights coming close to that rate and international ones exceeding it – albeit with lower seat occupancy rates.