Air travel to Greece shows signs of recovery

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Air travel showed signs of recovery in May with passenger traffic in Greece's airports rising by a spectacular 673.4% compared with the same period last year when the country was in a widespread lockdown, the Civil Aviation Authority said in a report.

International passenger arrivals totaled 383,107, up from 14,273 in May 2020 (an increase of 2,584%), while the number of flights (domestic and international) totaled 19,608, up 194.3% from last year.

Total passenger traffic in May was 1,250,187 (up 673.4% from May 2020).

The May figures were 97.2% down compared with May 2019.

In the January-May period, passenger traffic totaled 2,913,951, down 48% from the same period in 2020, while flights totaled 61,172 (42,730 domestic and 18,442 international), down 16% compared with 2020.

Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Saturday extended its standing NOTAM for an entry ban of non-EU citizens to June 26.

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CAA noted that permanent residents of the European Union and the Schengen area are exempted from this NOTAM.

Other exempt from the NOTAM include citizens from the following countries: Australia, North Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, New Zealand, South Korea, Qatar, China, Kuwait, Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Serbia, Thailand, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Japan and Lebanon.

All persons arriving in Greece from the above countries must either have a certificate issued by the relevant authority in their country of departure that they have completed vaccination at least 14 days before arrival or have a negative result in a PCR test for COVID-19 performed in the last 72 hours before arrival.

The current NOTAM came into effect on May 14.

Meanwhile, Greek Government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni announced that the five Greek islands hosting migrant reception centre with receive a VAT ( GST) Value Added Tax reduction of 30% as part of an EU initiative.

According to Peloni the Eurogroup agreed to the Greek government’s  proposal for a permanent 30% reduction of VAT on the islands of Chios, Leros, Samos, Kos and Lesvos for as long as there are reception centres for migrants and refugees on these islands.

Referring to the course of the pandemic in Greece, she said the situation was steadily improving and this allowed new steps toward greater freedom in economic and social life.

READ MORE: Greek ‘migrant’ islands get generous tax benefit.