On certain days last August arrivals figures at Athens International Airport (AIA) exceeded those of the same days in 2019. That trend appears to have extended this year, and looks set to continue for the entire summer, with industry professionals expecting arrivals at the country’s biggest airport, as well as some others around Greece, to top those registered in record year 2019.
This is confirmed by the passenger traffic data for April at AIA, which reached 1.68 million. That amounts to 84.5% of the same month in 2019, while domestic traffic in particular only lagged that of three years earlier by 4.3%, reaching 548,700 passengers. International traffic amounted to 20% less than in April 2019, reaching 1.1 million passengers.
Compared to April 2021, when extraordinary measures to fight the pandemic were still in force, limiting passenger numbers to 318,000, the annual growth last month amounted to 428%.
In the January-April 2022 period 4.5 million passengers used AIA, down 29.6% from the same period in 2019, but up 352% on 2021. Airline officials expect the gap with the pre-pandemic years to shrink, if not vanish, over the course of the tourism season. The challenge for airlines is to maintain that momentum even after the summer, they stress.