Air traffic at the regional airports managed by Fraport Greece surpassed the performance of 2019 in June, according to data published by the company. Compared to the 4.4 million visitors who traveled through the 14 airports in June 2019, before the pandemic, last month saw traffic of 4.6 million people.
However, as Giorgos Vilos, general manager of commercial and business development at Fraport Greece, tells Kathimerini, this number alone is not enough to fully compensate for the effects of an anemic first quarter of the year, especially given the significant challenges that still lie ahead for the sector. Also, on a six-month basis, passenger traffic remained lower by approximately 6%, at 10.3 million passengers, compared to January-June 2019.
“We remain cautiously optimistic because the airports are not yet operating under normal conditions,” says Vilos, explaining that the easing of pandemic restrictions has triggered a surge of mass travel.
Also in June, traffic at Thessaloniki airport lagged 11.4% from the same month in 2019, while traffic in Kavala, Mytilini and Samos decreased by 22.2%, 10% and 6.9% respectively.
“We are facing operational challenges across Europe’s airports, the winter promises to be difficult and the impact of heightened inflation is expected to be felt next year. The messages from the airlines are not auspicious, while most air carriers have hedged on aviation fuel, which is expected to be significantly limited from the fall onward,” adds Vilos.
Among the airports that showed an increase in traffic in June, compared to 2019, Santorini stood out with a rise of 21.5%, to 416,600 people. It was followed by the airports of Aktio (+12.9%) and Corfu (+12.4%) with a double-digit growth rate compared to June 2019. In Mykonos and Hania, two of the country’s leading tourism destinations, passenger traffic in June increased 9.9% and 8.3%, to 274,800 and 499,200 people respectively, while the rate of passenger growth last June, compared to the same month of 2019, was +7.7% at Skiathos, 3.2% at Rhodes and 2.4% at Kefalonia.
On a six-month level, passenger traffic stayed below the corresponding period of 2019 in eight of the total 14 airports; these were the airports of Hania, Kefalonia, Thessaloniki, Kos, Rhodes, Samos, Zakynthos and Kavala.