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Passenger Traffic at Greek Airports Close to All-Time Record

Departures hall at Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport.
2023 recorded an all-time heigh for passenger traffic at Greek airports. Credit: Greek Reporter

Passenger traffic at Greek airports reached an all-time record for the period of January to November, as indicated by data from the first eleven months of 2023, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced on Friday.

Preliminary statistics show a substantial increase compared to either 2022 or 2019, indicating that Greek airport traffic has risen even above pre-pandemic levels.

Speaking in numbers, passenger traffic thus far in 2023 appears to have already grown by at least 9.6 percent compared to the entire year of 2022.

The data refer to all airports of Greece, including the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos, the twenty-four airports managed by the CAA, and the fourteen regional airports managed by private operator Fraport Greece.

Passenger traffic at Greek airports grows by over 6 million

According to the statistics published by AMNA, over six million more passengers traveled to and from Greek airports in the first eleven months of 2023 compared to the entire year 2022.

Passenger traffic from January to November 2023 reached 69,771,387 passengers, while traffic for the twelve months of 2022 totaled 63,672,121.

The numbers are still rising during the last month of the present year, raising expectations that the year total will be even higher.

In the month of November alone, which falls far from the conventional peak tourist season for Greece, 2,925,746 passengers were recorded at Greek airports, as opposed to 2,369,079 and 2,596,285 passengers in the same months of 2022 and 2019 respectively.

Flight traffic increased at Greek airports

In terms of the number of flights—arrivals and departures for both international and domestic flights—a total of 24,842 flights were carried out in November 2023 compared to 23,218 in the same month in 2022 and 23,774 in 2019, AMNA reports.

The number of all flights rose by seven percent in November compared to November 2022 and by 4.5 percent compared to 2019.

In the first eleven months of 2023, a total of 537,172 flights took place, compared to 528,292 in 2022 and 502,646 in 2019, indicating 1.7 and 6.9 percent increases in flight traffic compared to the respective periods of 2022 and 2019.

Rapid growth of Greek tourism

Over the last five years, the hospitality industry in Greece has welcomed a rush of investment, with more than a hundred and fifty new and refurbished hotels opening their doors around the country and including more than sixty in Athens alone.

An earlier report on Greek tourism trends noted that the tourist period started early in 2023, and the big cities, mainly Athens, benefited. Sales of city hotels rose from thirty-eight percent of the total in 2019 to forty-one percent in early 2023, while the islands’ share dropped slightly, from fifty-one to forty-eight percent, suggesting that Athens is no longer merely a transit stop on the way to the islands.

Among the new travel trends that affect Greek tourism and could continue in the coming years, is the rise of new tourist destinations, less saturated with visitors, such as Mytilene, the capital of the island of Lesvos, and Kavala, a city in mainland northern Greece, the report added.

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