It was clear from the beginning of the year that this summer would be another challenge for air travel and the aviation industry.
The country’s health profile, the course of vaccinations and the avoidance of another wave of restrictions will determine the course of flights in the coming months.
The recent forecast for Greece by the European air safety organisation Eurocontrol, predicts that passenger traffic will reach 47% of 2019 this year, while the total restoration is now expected in 2024.
Prerequisites for this forecast are the smooth course of vaccinations and the coordinated easing of travel restrictions internationally by the end of this year, which will gradually bring the “opening” of long-haul flights.
For our country, the opening of markets such as Britain, Russia, Scandinavia will be a day-to-day project for this summer as well.
According to the forecasts of Eurocontrol, passenger traffic in Greece will gradually return to 69% of 2019 in 2022, 82% in 2023, and in 2024 it will reach pre-coronavirus levels.
These forecasts mean an increase in the country’s GDP by 1.9% in 2021 and by 12% in 2022 compared to the extremely difficult and unprecedented 2020.
As the president of AEGEAN, Mr. Eftychis Vasilakis, said yesterday, “we are heading towards the gradual exit from the pandemic, but the difficulties and uncertainties for the tourism industry will remain with us for a long time.”
He even emphasised the need for no setbacks this summer, something that happened last year.
This year, of course, the main weapon in the hands of the authorities is vaccination, but also the digital European certificate and protection measures (tests, self-tests, PLF).
In the last year and a half, Greece lost 350,000 flights, according to Eurocontrol.
In mid-June, there were an average of 1,020 flights per day.
The airport with the highest traffic was Athens with 483 average daily flights, a decrease of 35% compared to 2019.
It is followed by Heraklion airport with -51% of flights compared to 2019 and Thessaloniki with – 43%.
At the same time, domestic flights are the ones that improve the picture, as tourist flows are not expected to show dynamics until July.
International flights in the middle of this month were at -54%.
At the same time, the airline with the highest traffic was Aegean with 234 daily flights on average, a decrease of 41% compared to 2019.
SKY Express followed with 117 average daily flights (-3%).
The largest drop of 80% has been in flights to/from Britain, as expected due to the strict restrictive measures taken by the British government.