Why Ryanair is closing its base in Athens for the winter

Why Ryanair is closing its base in Athens for the winter
Why Ryanair is closing its base in Athens for the winter

Ryanair announced yesterday its decision to close its base in Athens on October 29 and for the winter season.

According to Ryanair’s announcement, from October 29 to March 29, it will release its two aircraft parked at El. Venizelos and will reduce its routes from 29 to 10, which were planned.

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Ryanair flights to and from El. Venizelos will be maintained, making 10 routes from Athens to Dublin, London, Brussels, Milan, Bologna, Rome, Budapest, Katowice, Vienna and Malta.

The Irish company, which has a Greek market share of around 7% (behind Aegean 38% and Sky Express 15%), will maintain its Thessaloniki base and operate routes to and from Thessaloniki and Chania the co-capital.

Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson in his statement, in the well-known denunciation tone used by the Irish company, emphasizes: “We are disappointed to announce the closure of our base in Athens at the end of October ’22 for the winter season, but the Greek government has inexplicably failed to match Ryanair’s ambitious growth plans in a much-needed tourism recovery program to reduce uncompetitive airport charges that would help restore traffic after the pandemic, as Croatia, Ireland, Portugal and other countries.

Athens airport is a prime example of how the Greek government and high-cost German ownership are failing to deliver for the people and economy of Greece.”

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And he continues “We again ask the Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilia, to respond to our written development proposals with which we offer the transformation of the tourism market of Greece in the next 5 years, doubling the traffic to 10 million passengers per year, strengthening off-peak tourism , creating 4,000 local jobs and supporting much-needed regional development.

This failure to engage the Greek government has already led to the closure of our Rhodes base by Ryanair this summer and has now forced us to close our Athens base this October and redeploy that capacity to competing lower cost destinations, such as Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal.

The airport charging structure in Greece is dysfunctional as it rewards German airport operators who control a vital part of the Greek national infrastructure at the expense of economic growth in tourism and connectivity.

It is inexplicable that the Greek government does not use incentives at Greek airports to promote Greek businesses and jobs, instead of protecting outdated high-cost German practices.

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We call on Minister Kikilia to finally respond in writing to Ryanair’s development proposals that will transform Greek tourism by creating thousands of jobs in Greece during the winter season.”

What is the Ministry of Tourism’s response to Ryanair?

Sources of the Ministry of Tourism commented that the ministry will present, in the next period, a plan for the strengthening of winter tourism and the extension of the tourist season in our country.

This plan includes, among other things, the provision of incentives to airlines and tour operators interested in continuing their activity in Greece after October.

For this purpose, after all, from the beginning of next week, the Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias, is said to be making a series of targeted visits to European capitals to expand cooperation with international players in the tourism industry.

As the same sources emphasize, the Ministry of Tourism promotes from the first moment the partnership of the public and private sectors for proposals and initiatives with a purely developmental sign that create new jobs and further upgrade the tourism product of our country. And the results are already visible from the excellent performance of this year’s tourist season.

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The article is in Greek

Tags: Ryanair closing base Athens winter

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