ECONOMY

Airport arrivals decline 55-60%

airport-arrivals-decline-55-60

Arrivals, both domestic and international, at most Greek airports dropped between 55% and 60% in August, according to preliminary data seen by Kathimerini.

This contraction is not as bad as July’s, and actually exceeded operators’ expectations. The fact remains, however, that the slump in international arrivals was significantly higher than that in domestic arrivals. And it is international travelers that bring in the most revenue, not just to airports, but across all tourist activities.

At Athens International Airport, August arrivals were down 60% on the same month last year. International arrivals declined 66% and domestic arrivals 47%.

Island airports showed more or less the same pattern; not as bad as July, but still way down, especially in international arrivals. The biggest decline was recorded on the island of Skiathos, 70%, while the 65% drop on the island of Samos may also be due to its proximity to Turkey, given the recent tension between the two countries.

On Santorini, an iconic tourist destination especially favored by international tourists, traffic fell 63%, while in Rhodes and Hania, on the western end of the island of Crete, air passenger traffic sank 60%.

On the western islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos, as well as on the southeastern island of Kos, near both Rhodes and Turkey, traffic was down 55%, while Corfu and Mykonos were among the least affected, with a 50% drop.

The island of Lesvos is a case apart, in that it is not only frequented by tourists: Mass arrivals of migrants and refugees and their camps, especially the confinement of many in the notoriously overcrowded Moria, has attracted NGOs and others, idealistic or otherwise, boosting travel to this island. Traffic declined 47% in August, less than at any other destination.

On the mainland, arrivals fell 55% at Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Airport, and in Kalamata, a relatively new hub serving the southern Peloponnese peninsula, they were down 61%.

In July, traffic at the largest 14 Greek airports outside Athens had slumped 75.1%, to 1.3 million, from 5.3 million in 2019. International arrivals were off 78.5% and their domestic counterparts 56.5%. Athens Airport arrivals fell 70%, to 894,000.