No one can blame business people for doing their best to get better prices for the services they must pay in order to get a job done. But there should be a limit to how far they will go to achieve such aims. A question in point is the new international Eleftherios Venizelos Airport at Spata outside of Athens. It appears that businesses from tour bus owners to local airlines have used everything from the threat of strikes to friendly reporters to badmouth the airport and its services. In the end, they will get what they want. Airport management says it will cut its rates before the end of the year. But these cuts will be less than mediocre when we look at the damage done to the reputations of both the airport and the country’s capital.
If in doubt, while at other international airports abroad have a few words with those in the know. You will find that local press reports concerning steep prices at the airport, extreme difficulties in reaching the airport and ad hoc management have reached the ears of travelers abroad. Many have become skeptical of visiting Athens.
Frankly, I believe everyone in the travel trade has traveled extensively and visited airports all over the world. With a quick comparison of available services, cleanliness and on-time flights, the travel professional can easily attest to the excellent services at our new airport. If not, a trip to Frankfurt Airport, considered one of Europe’s best, should ease anyone’s mind as to the high level of services and products available at Spata.
Concerning the most recent press reports that traffic is down by some 33%. It also explains that costs in general are not over exorbitant. However, the airport’s service charges (airport facilities and security charges) are considerably higher than most other airports.
Personally, I believe we have an airport that we can be proud of and that the barrage of bad press it continues to receive, long after the initial opening problems have been rectified, is hardly warranted. This does not mean there are not problems that must be cleared up, such as better transport networks to the airport. Works to solve that problem are underway.
And granted, some areas of our tourism sector may need improvement. But when we have something good, such as our airport and resort hotels, we should flaunt them to the international market, not tear them apart in the local press for ulterior motives.