Unscheduled and private flights are causing 20% of delays at Greek airports, while the remaining 80% of delays are due to a domino effect from abroad, Transport Ministry data for June have shown. Nevertheless, the picture at Greek airports is much better than in most of Europe, which have been been struggling in recent weeks.
According to the data, 53% of flights to Athens International Airport (AIA) last month landed on time, while the delays of the remaining 47% – 4,520 – were 80% due to problems abroad.
“The better image at Greek airports is also due to the preparatory work done by the airport managers and the Ministry of Transport, mainly via systematic contacts with the air traffic controllers, having explained in detail that this year’s air traffic would exceed the numbers of 2019,” say ministry sources.
On May 9 the general assembly of the Greek Air Traffic Controllers Association voted in favor of a joint agreement that included a series of measures aimed at relieving air traffic from impending delays. It provided for new work schedules resulting in an increase of almost 10% in the man-hours produced, particularly for shifts during peak times, and an increase to the traffic minimum, especially at the airports of Athens by 27%, with immediate priority on flights from Mykonos and Santorini. It also provided for the payment of a performance bonus to controllers that concerned the year 2020.
Ministry of Transport sources explained that about one fifth of the delays recorded last month were due either to commercial flights taking place outside pre-arranged slots – mainly at Iraklio airport – or to private flights to islands that are popular tourism destinations causing disturbances in the landing schedules of airports there and affecting traffic.
The report also showed that AIA recieved between 600 and 1,000 pieces of passenger luggage every day from previous days’ flights. To deal with the phenomenon, the management of Greece’s biggest airport has installed a temporary logistics system.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.