Direct flights from the US to Greece will be extended into the winter months, the Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) said in a report published on Tuesday.
Delta, following the launch in 2022 of a direct Athens-Boston flight for the first time after twenty-five years, has already scheduled flights to Greece until January 10, 2023 on the New York-Athens route, thus also covering the Christmas-New Year holidays, the report says.
This is particularly significant, as based on the company’s initial planning, the direct routes New York – Athens would be extended until October at the latest. Delta is now essentially extending the time of its operation in Greece into a ten-month period, AMNA notes.
The positive messages for tourism in Greece from the US market were referenced by the representatives of the three largest American airlines at the “Travel Leaders” economic-development forum organized in Lagonisi, Attica with the participation of the major tour operators from all over the world.
63 direct flights between US and Greece per week
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias underlined the deepening of the strategic relationship developed with the USA throughout the previous period, the culmination of which was, as he said, the establishment of nine direct flights a day between Greece and the largest airports in America, a number corresponding to sixty-three flights per week.
“We have never had 500,000 travelers directly from America at ‘Eleftherios Venizelos’ coming from Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia with all three American companies [and] with the first flight having started as early as March 7th earlier than any other year,” Kikilias said.
“Of course, all this did not happen by accident,” he said. “Nor are these just facts and figures. It is the great added value of our tourism product—the result of collective, hard, and methodical work—that translates into income for the Greek economy and the average Greek family,” Kikilias said.
The minister also underlined that the effort of the tourism ministry does not stop here, as the goal now is to increase direct flights from the USA to Greece and to extend these flight schedules beyond the summer months.
“Our main priority, already from the beginning of this year’s very successful summer season, is to extend the tourist season in our country,” he stated. “In June alone, visitor arrivals from the other side of the Atlantic were fifty percent higher than in 2019. And I am especially happy that our efforts are paying off, as I am informed that most companies have already extended their itineraries for the next months.”
On the sidelines of the forum, Kikilias had private contacts with the representatives of the three US airlines (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines), which noted that this year, Greece, and especially Athens, emerged as one of their most successful international destinations.
For this reason, as the US airline representatives emphasized in speaking to Kikilias, an extension of their operation in Greece for the autumn-winter period, as well, is already under discussion.
Greece extends tourist season
Greece plans to extend the tourist season beyond October to November and, under certain conditions, to the rest of the winter months in order to lure northern Europeans to the country.
Greece is experiencing one of the best tourism seasons of all time. Numbers have surpassed pre-pandemic levels and are on track to attract more than 33 million visitors. The government hopes to further improve this by extending the tourist season.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the initiative at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair last week.