Passenger traffic this year at the Athens airport, which last year handled 22.7 million travelers, is expected to exceed the performance of 2019. That figure was up significantly, by 98.3%, compared to 2021, but still was 11.1% short of 2019.
This year, it could exceed 2019 levels, given that it is unlikely there will be any significant entry requirements as there were in the first few months of 2022, but also because the prospects for the course of tourism this year remain positive, despite uncertainty due to inflation and the war in Ukraine.
Moreover, on a monthly comparison basis, the shortfall in passenger numbers from 2019 is even smaller and is limited to a low single-digit percentage. That is, in December, compared to the same month of 2019, the total number of passengers served by the Eleftherios Venizelos Athens International Airport was only 3% smaller, at 1.6 million. Domestic passengers exceeded the levels of the last month of 2019 by 7.9% (501,200), while international passenger traffic decreased by 7.3%, exceeding 1 million people.
Overall, Athens International Airport’s passenger traffic last month increased by 84.1% compared to December 2021. Domestic passengers increased by 60.3% and international passengers by 98.3% year-on-year, but still lagged compared to 2019 by 4.7% and 13.9% respectively.
In 2022 Greece was one of the four countries – out of a total of 44 states monitored by the European organization for the safety of air navigation (Eurocontrol) – where flights increase from 2019, albeit marginally, by 1%.
The momentum of Greek tourism and Athens includes the launch of new routes by foreign carriers. Notably, Air China is expected on Tuesday to present, in a special event, its plans for the Greek market, having launched the Athens-Shanghai air connection on December 22, a flight that operates once a week. Undoubtedly, the decision of the airline, which along with China Eastern and China Southern makes up the aviation ecosystem of China, has coincided with the explosion of Covid cases there.