Negative reports in local newspapers concerning the new Athens International Airport at Spata, Elefterios Venizelos, may have played a role in the airport’s recent announcement that it will lower airport fees later this year. The newspaper reports concentrated on the lower numbers of flights from the airport to domestic destinations.
Although screaming headlines proclaimed up to a one-third drop in traffic to domestic destinations, airport management says the story does not portray a true picture and the data used is simply not factual. It says that overall flights out of the new airport during July were 5% more than during the corresponding period last year at the old Athens Airport at Hellenikon.
“International traffic out of the airport, which makes up two-thirds of all traffic, was up 12% in July,” says the airport, “while during the same period there was a 15.8% drop in the number of domestic flights.”
By the close of this year, airport management expects to post higher figures than for the same period last year -March till December- posted by the old airport. In all, it expects to average as many as 1.4 million passengers and 70,000 flights monthly.
During the peak summer period, says management, the airport handled as many as 658 flights per day, which compares with the Frankfurt daily average of 1,100 flights per day, and all with near zero airport-related delays of over 25 minutes. Again, in comparison with Frankfurt, management says the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport has just as good service.
With regards to cost, it appears that the main problem is airport taxes. The airport says its charges are just five to 10% of total airline costs, while other services, such as ground handling charges, make up 25 to 30% of an airline’s costs. It reminds that at the Hellenikon Airport there was no competitive prices for ground handling as state-owned Olympic controlled all such operations. At the new airport, there are three companies that compete for an airline’s ground handling business.