By Vangelis Mandravelis
Athens International Airport (AIA) intends to tackle a spike in incoming traffic with the operation of a third terminal station by the end of this year. This is the terminal that until now operated only to cover the peak days of the summer season.
Kathimerini understands that AIA intends to start operating the satellite terminal on a permanent basis, and to this end the necessary preparations have already been made with the creation of waiting rooms, shops, etc. The aim of this move is to meet new demand levels, as AIA will then be able to handle passenger volume coming to 26 million people a year.
The operation of the new terminal is foreseen in the airport’s Development Contract dating to 1995. This dictates that once AIA reaches the 90 percent threshold of its annual capacity of 21 million passengers for 12 consecutive months it will have to expand its operating installations. That “trigger point” was reached in July 2016, as in the 12 months from August 2015 the sum of 18.9 million was achieved.
An independent study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that once the satellite terminal, which will likely be named “Terminal C” starts operating, AIA will be able to handle 26 million passengers per year and they will receive the Optimum Level of Service of IATA across all of he airport’s subsystems.
Users of the new terminal will not suffer any inconvenience by the change, as the satellite building will offer them equal variety and quality of services to the rest of the airport. The question, according to AIA officials, is whether air companies will indeed make use of the facilities offered, while it might also take a little longer to move from terminal to terminal.
The satellite terminal is actually not at all new: it has been there since the original construction of the airport, however it was spruced up a decorated, along with the addition of more infrastructures for serving passengers, in the last few months.