Greece is launching its tourism season May 14 amidst positive signs and hopes for a much better year than in 2020 that will lay the foundations for a strong year in 2022 at a time when large hotel groups are opening their doors and airlines are preparing to resume flights to Athens and the islands.
From the all-time record year in 2019 to the historic nadir of 2020 where the aviation industry went through the worst crisis in peacetime history, we reached 2021 which - as it seems - will be the bridge year between these two extremes.
Although it is still too early to draw conclusions about 2021, it is certain that it will be much better than 2020, while analysts are already talking about a recovery of travel reaching 50-60 percent of 2019 levels.
Aegean Airlines shows the way
The path to opening up the region was shown by Aegean. Greece’s largest domestic carrier will add 50 flights to and from the region of Greece this year, while 17 to 20 more aircraft will operate directly from its seven regional bases, in a total of 65 popular routes abroad with regular flights.
With 33 new direct routes, which significantly strengthen the company's bases in Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Rhodes, Chania, but also in Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos. Of course, it maintains its base in Athens with 37-40 aircraft, as the main activity hub of its network for accessibility and interconnection both in mainland Greece and on the smaller islands.
Busy schedule for TUI
Yesterday, TUI, announced that it will start flights to Greece on May 14, the opening day of tourism, with destinations in Crete and the Western Peloponnese. The starting point of the first flight is Hannover, bound for Heraklion, while five more flights are planned to Crete from Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt.
Ryanair: Record of Greek destinations
The largest flight program in its history to Greek destinations was announced by Europe's largest airline, the low-cost airline Ryanair, which will create three new bases in Corfu, Rhodes and Chania for the summer season. On April 15, the company announced 74 new itineraries to three Greek islands, with three new bases and over 550 weekly flights and 218 routes, to a number of international and domestic destinations that will help restart tourism.
Sky Express already serves 34 destinations within the country's domestic network, with an emphasis on low traffic routes. With the purchase of six new Airbus A320neo it will enter more competitively domestic flights, going abroad as well. It has already launched the Athens - Larnaca route.
Delta Air Lines returns
Back to normal for US Delta Air Lines, which returns to Athens with three direct flights on a daily basis, two from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and one from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) ) of Atlanta. Thus, one of the largest American airlines chooses Athens as the first European destination with which it resumes its activity in the post-Covid era.
The US company is giving a vote of confidence in Greece with new seasonal flights that are scheduled to start in July. United Airlines extends its connections to Athens with daily flights from Washington. This new route marks the first daily direct connection between the two cities.
Other airlines serving the Greek market this year include: Air France-KLM, Qatar Airways, Jet 2, easyjet, Transavia, Wizzair, Vueling, Emirates, SkyUp Airlines.