Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia last month met with Greek ministers in an effort to coordinate actions that would improve the tourism sector. Shortly after a meet with Transport and Communications Minister Michael Liapis, both ministers announced their intention to work together. They mentioned the need for cooperation on small but important projects.
Mr. Liapis said that one of the priorities of his ministry would be to open most of Greece’s airports on a 24-hour basis. As a first step, three airports -Santorini, Kefallonia, Chios- will remain open around the clock this summer and follow last summer’s example of 24-hour Chania airport on Crete, which proved successful.
Of the country’s 40 airports, up until now only seven are open on a 24-hour basis – Athens, Chania, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Corfu, Rodos. Others are open for short hours and some even only during certain days of the week. Mykonos, for example, during the winter period is open only five days a week for about five hours a day.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority says it is looking at the construction of two new airports, one at Sparta and one at Samothraki, and has budgeted 2.1 billion euros for modernization programs at 29 Greek airports. The projects are expected to be completed by 2011.
According to authority, passenger traffic at 10 of the country’s major airports experienced an increase of some 6.3% last year when compared with the year before. These 10 airports (Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Rodos, Corfu, Chania, Zakynthos, Kos, Santorini, Mytilini) hosted 35,222,535 passengers last year with the Athens airport hosting the heaviest load of more than 15 million passengers.