What is the answer of the Ministry of Tourism to Ryanair regarding the closure of the base in Athens during the winter season

What is the answer of the Ministry of Tourism to Ryanair regarding the closure of the base in Athens during the winter season
What is the answer of the Ministry of Tourism to Ryanair regarding the closure of the base in Athens during the winter season

A specific plan is being processed by the relevant ministry, which is part of the wider strategy to strengthen winter tourism in the country.

In this, the extension of the tourist season is foreseen, as it appears from sources of the Ministry of Tourism, on the occasion of Ryanair’s announcement to close its base in Athens in the winter season.

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This plan, which will be presented in the next period, includes – among other things – the provision of incentives to airlines and tour operators, who are 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, will make a series of targeted visits to European capitals to expand cooperation with international players in the tourism industry.

As the same sources, cited by APE-MPE, 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 country’s tourism product us. And the results are already visible from the excellent performance of this year’s tourist season.

Ryanair closes its base in Athens for the winter season

Earlier, the Irish airline Ryanair announced that it will close its base in Athens for the winter season. Thus, from October 29 to the end of March, it is releasing two of its aircraft from “Eleftherios Venizelos” airport, reducing its routes to 10, from 29 that were planned.

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Ryanair will maintain 10 routes from Athens to Dublin, London, Brussels, Milan, Bologna, Rome, Budapest, Katowice, Vienna and Malta, no longer parking any aircraft at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. This means that the four bases it had in Athens in 2019 and last year there were two, will be zero this winter season. The Irish company, which has a share of the Greek market of around 7% (behind Aegean 38% and Sky Express 15 %), will maintain its base in Thessaloniki and will operate routes to Thessaloniki and from Chania and to and from the co-capital.

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said in a statement: “We are disappointed to announce the closure of our Athens base at the end of October ’22 for the winter season, but the Greek government has inexplicably failed to respond to ambitious plans to develop Ryanair 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 have already done.

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.”

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 Greek tourism market in the next 5 years, doubling traffic to 10 million passengers per year, strengthening tourism outside state-of-the-art, creating 4,000 local jobs and supporting much-needed regional development.

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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.

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.”

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The article is in Greek

Tags: answer Ministry Tourism Ryanair closure base Athens winter season

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