Regional airports’ record year

Concerns expressed for 2023 over cost of fuel and aircraft leasing, and the impact of inflation

Regional airports’ record year

Greece’s 14 largest regional airports, managed by Fraport Greece, reported a million more passengers last year than in 2019. In total, passenger traffic reached 31 million passengers, or 3.4% from the record year of 2019, sources have told Kathimerini, though uncertainty is clouding the new year.

The overall 2022 performance, which is a new all-time record, points to individual trends that significantly differentiate the picture by destination. For example, Mykonos and Santorini closed the year with increases of more than 20% and 50% respectively in terms of international passenger traffic compared to the last year before the pandemic. Also, the airports of Skiathos, Corfu and Aktio also recorded significantly improved performances.

However, for this year, concerns have already arisen over factors that may curtail passenger traffic. Airlines appear heavily burdened by a number of factors and are trying to manage the increased risks on the horizon. They have to deal with the increased cost of fuel, while the rise of the dollar in relation to the euro has caused an additional burden on the costs of European airlines, as the contracts for the leasing of aircraft that account for many of their fleets have been concluded in dollars. Uncertainty also surrounds the extent of the impact that inflation has on households’ disposable income and how this will affect their consumption behavior in relation to travel.

In this environment, the planning of seats to Greece in 2023 carried out by the airlines during this period requires caution, which does not allow for increased capacity to Greek destinations. 

Market sources report that, in general, airline seat planning to Greek destinations is moving at similar levels to last year. However, in order for airlines to manage the above risks and increase seat occupancy, they focus their flights mainly on the summer period and much less on the period before and after the summer – which would be necessary for Greece to strengthen tourism activity and reduce its seasonality.

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