By Dimitris Delevengos
Monday’s resumption of a considerable number of international flights to Athens and Thessaloniki produced a marginally satisfactory occupancy rate for Aegean Airlines, Kathimerini understands.
Greece’s flag carrier on Monday flew passengers from 13 destinations to Athens, plus from another two to Thessaloniki, with the network including flights from Larnaca, Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Bucharest, Tirana and Munich.
Market professionals note that seat occupancy rates are expected to vary depending on whether a route had been stopped altogether or not (for instance, the Athens-Brussels service continued throughout the lockdown).
Nevertheless, carriers have now turned their attention to last-minute bookings that will determine the course not only of Aegean but also of all other air companies. They say that there is no doubt Greece remains a top tourism world destination, but for this summer’s campaign to be successful it will take the clarification of a series of issues among countries regarding air travel. The hotel sector will also need to be ready to serve the country’s visitors, provided that most accommodation units across Greece will open next month.
The next stage for the resumption of international flights includes the connection of destinations abroad with regional airports. Aegean is expected in the coming days to draw up the flight schedule out of its hubs in Irakleio and Hania in Crete and Rhodes, among others. By July 15 it is expected to serve 42 destinations abroad out of Athens and at least seven foreign destinations out of Thessaloniki.
If one also takes into account the 31 destinations of the listed airline’s domestic network that never ceased being served throughout the spring, then across its network and out of all its hubs, Aegean estimates by July 15 it will perform about 1,000 flights per week, which by end-August will climb to 1,600.
The overall flying schedule when it fully matures is expected to represent 50% of that anticipated before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
This article was first published by ekathimerini.com