Tens of thousands head off for summer vacations

As the holiday season moves toward its peak period, seats on flights and ferries leaving Athens are nearly fully booked with tens of thousands of people abandoning the capital on a daily basis. The Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday that just over 70,000 passengers left the three main ports of Attica – Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion – on Thursday to head off to one of the Aegean islands. Since the start of summer season, 5.94 million passengers have traveled from one of the three ports, along with 683,072 cars. Delays and problems at the country’s main ports have been kept to a minimum this summer as the ferry operators appear to be working more efficiently than in previous years. Air transport is also close to capacity. According to Olympic Airlines, flights to Corfu, Rhodes, Hania, Zakynthos and Myconos are 97 percent full, while only 10 percent of seats on flights to Chios and Skiathos are still available. Sources said that availability rates on Aegean Airlines flights were at similar levels with booked seats around the 90 percent mark. Meanwhile, traffic on the roads is just as heavy as some 80,000 cars left Athens yesterday. Holidaymakers in the northern part of the country will need to take care over the weekend as weather authorities issued yesterday a warning of bad conditions. According to the National Meteorological Service (EMY), heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected until Monday in Macedonia, Thrace and the northern Aegean.