Optimism is expressed by the executives of the aviation industry that American arrivals to Greece this summer will even exceed the performance of 2019. Airlines from the US and Canada are giving a vote of confidence to Greek tourism, investing in the dynamic Greek-American community living on the other side of the Atlantic. Despite the great uncertainties created by inflation and the war in Ukraine, combined with the concern of new variants of the coronavirus, it seems that this year tourists are determined to travel again.
The above is reflected in the choice of airlines to muster greater forces in the Greek market. Just yesterday, American Airlines announced, at a special event in Athens, that it will increase its activity at Athens International Airport by 80% compared to 2019 and by 47% compared to 2021. The company invests in larger capacities and expanded summer program, which will close in late October.
Starting on May 6, as concerns seasonal flights between Athens and New York, the US air carrier will offer three pairs of daily flights between Greece and the USA. Daily services to Chicago and Philadelphia have already started in April. Flights to JFK will be operated by Boeing 777-200 aircraft, flights to Chicago by Boeing 787-9s and to Philadelphia by Boeing 787-8s.
Completing 15 years of presence in Greece, American Airlines will offer this year more direct flights from the US to Greece without stop-overs during its summer program. For 2021, the company recovered 96% of the traffic of the last pre-pandemic year, reaching 130,400 passengers, while this year it’s going for a new record. Its best performance was recorded in 2019, with the addition of Chicago giving a boost to its traffic of 49.3%.
“We are very proud of the continuous expansion of our presence in Greece, with more seasonal itineraries. “We expect people to travel more than ever and Americans want to come to Greece,” said Rhett Workman, CEO of American for Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“Greece” is an improved brand
Executives of the aviation industry attribute the confidence in Greece shown by the aviation giants, to the strengthening of the Greek brand during the two years of the pandemic, as well as to the tourist campaign of our country aimed at attracting greater tourist flows. Essentially, Greece is cashing in on the profile of the safe travel destination that was built during the two difficult summers.
In terms of arrivals from the US, it appears to have recovered the largest share of travel traffic compared to competing Mediterranean destinations namely Spain, Italy and Portugal. With the lifting of restrictions on Covid-19 and the start of the summer season, Greece has topped the list of American tourists searching the internet, according to Tourix Analytics.
As planes go where there is demand, this year is another record year for direct flights between Greece and the US. The company that inaugurated the trend this year, earlier than ever is Delta, which will offer 5,922 seats towards Greece every week during the summer. In particular, it will operate daily flights between Athens and Atlanta, at the peak of the season 11 flights a week to / from New York (JFK), while a new route has been launched connecting Athens with Boston three times a week.
The daily seasonal flight of United Airlines between Athens and Washington starts on May 7, while the air connection of the Greek capital with New York (Newark) has already resumed, also on a daily basis, the capacity of which will increase from the beginning of next month.
Meanwhile, earlier than any other year, Air Canada started its summer program, which connects Athens with Montreal and Toronto with direct flights, which in the peak of the season will become daily. The company’s summer schedule will last until the end of November.
Wager on Athens airport
Before the pandemic, the USA was the strongest tourist market for Athens Airport. In 2019, a record year for Greek tourism, 694,362 arrivals from the US were recorded, increased by 2% compared to 2018, and in fact showing a continuous increase in capacity and frequencies. In the same year, Britain, Germany and France followed suit.
Last year, despite restrictions on the spread of Covid-19, since the opening of the US market this quarter, arrivals picked up so fast that the Americans finished second in the race for “Eleftherios Venizelos”, close to 300,000 arrivals, when the Germans approached 340,000.
It is noted that the Americans are the most open-handed tourists. In fact, according to 2021 data, they have doubled the average per capita expenditure per trip to around $ 1,500, excluding airline tickets and accommodation. It is noted that the total travel receipts from the USA to the country, reached a record 1.19 billion euros, in 2019. Of course, in 2020 the div stood at 86.1 million euros. According to the data of the Bank of Greece, the receipts from tourists coming from the USA in 2021 jumped to 607 million euros.