The messages from passenger traffic for the biggest airport of the country are optimistic, despite the concern that the rise in infections creates, but also the course of the Delta mutation. After the improved performance of June, which gave the first signals for this summer, July recorded double traffic than last year, recovering 62.2% of the passengers of 2019 which was the record year for “Eleftherios Venizelos”. July was a relatively good month for Greek tourism in general, which showed an increase of 49% in arrivals from abroad.

The performance of Athens International Airport, which continues to face the second worst year in its history due to the pandemic, is indicative of a gradual improvement compared to previous months. The number of passengers transported in July amounted to 1.85 million when in the corresponding month last year it was 893,622. The gradual recovery is attributed to the lifting of travel restrictions from mid-May and the peak summer vacation period.

The improvement was more evident in domestic traffic, verifying the international trend. In particular, domestic traffic for July was reduced by 26.1% compared to 2019, when the decline in international traffic reached 43%, still showing signs of recovery.

In total, in the first seven months of 2021, traffic at “Eleftherios Venizelos” amounted to 4.5 million passengers, a drop of 5.7%. It is reminded, however, that the first months of 2020 were not affected by the arrival of Covid-19 and even showed an upward trend. The decline in passenger traffic in the period January-July, compared to the corresponding period of 2019, amounted to 68.3%.

In particular, domestic passengers exceeded the levels of 2020 by 9.6%, while international passengers recorded a decrease of 14.4% compared to 2020. Both domestic and international passengers remained below the levels of 2019 by 56.8% and 73.4% respectively.

Meanwhile, for the first month of the resumption of tourism, in June, passenger traffic at Athens airport was more than three times the corresponding month of 2020, with almost 1.1 million passengers, but was 58.2% behind with 2019. The biggest loss was recorded again in foreign traffic by about 65%. In total, in the first half of the year, “Eleftherios Venizelos” recovered only 23.6% of traffic in 2019, handling 2.66 million passengers.

In addition, for the period July 14-21, Athens International Airport remained in the top ten of European airports with 650 flights, according to Eurocontrol data, reduced by 21% compared to the same week of 2019. The airline with the most departures was Aegean and domestic destinations dominated, confirming the international trend that shows a better rate of return to the home network. France, Germany, Italy and Cyprus followed.

It is recalled that for all 14 regional airports in the country, June brought on a glimmer of hope. The country’s regional tourism gateways recovered in the first half of 2021, only 22.2% of passenger traffic in the last pre-pandemic year, but the improvement compared to 2020 amounted to almost 38%, recording 2.4 million. passengers versus 1.76 million and international traffic more than doubled to 1.4 million passengers. Particularly encouraging was the performance of June at the airports managed by Fraport Greece, which recorded more than 7 times more visitors, compared to 2020.

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