It closes its base in Athens for the winter season

It closes its base in Athens for the winter season
It closes its base in Athens for the winter season

By Efi Triiri
[email protected]

Ryanair is closing its base in Athens from October 29 to the end of March, i.e. during the winter season, as the airline confirms today, which means a lost investment of 200 million dollars for the vital Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. importance, as characterized by the airline for the Greek economy. This means that the four bases it had in Athens before Covid became two last year to zero this winter.

The reason why Ryanair is making this decision is because both the Athens airport and the regional ones managed by Germany’s Fraport offer no incentive for the company to boost its passenger traffic during the winter season or to bring tourism outside the peak season and to connect Athens with various other destinations, as it is considered a highly attractive destination throughout the year.

The managing director of Ryanair, Mr. Eddie Wilson, speaking to “N”, argues that the Greek government has not offered long-term incentives to airlines to invest in Athens airport in off-peak periods or to develop tourism on the lines of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus. It also claims that the decision to sell most of the regional Greek airports to the German operator has had a devastating impact on the labor market and job creation, as Fraport, it says, acts as a brake on the Greek economy by limiting the flow of tourists and connections, since it has no intention of lowering prices to boost traffic.

While other governments and airports are cutting taxes and adopting plans to revive tourism, according to Ryanair, the Greek government still imposes an airport tax of €12 per passenger on airlines, making access to Greek airports non-competitive. Mr. Wilson noted that the company has submitted to the Greek government several proposals for development plans from November 2021, under which Ryanair could double passenger traffic from 5 to 10 million in the next five years, bring 2, 5 million additional passengers outside the peak season, thereby expanding the tourist season throughout the year, increasing tourism income, creating 4,000 new jobs and contributing to regional development.

Mr. Wilson reports that while the company is expanding operations in other countries, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Cyprus this winter, in Greece it has reduced its capacity by 40%. He explains that at other airports, such as in Portugal, Croatia and Ireland, the taxes are lower. Referring to the tourist agents, he said that they represent a share of less than 5% of the Greek air traffic in the winter season and therefore the reduction of the capacity of a company like Ryanair is disastrous for the Greek economy, as he characteristically stated.

The CEO says that Ryanair with 150 new aircraft expected to acquire in the next four years, will be able to show rapid growth in passenger traffic, offering routes that can connect many regions. The carrier’s share in the Greek market is 7% compared to Aegean’s 38% and Sky Express’s 15%.

The article is in Greek

Tags: closes base Athens winter season

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