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Athens Arrivals Drop, AIA Too Expensive

Athens experienced a 4.67 percent decrease in international arrivals in September compared to the same month in 2010, according to recent figures released by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

“The many problems in central Athens this year (demonstrations, riots, strikes, increased crime, etc.) have considerably worsened the capital’s image,” the association said in an announcement.

SETE highlighted that the increased fees charged to passengers at Athens International Airport (AIA) do not contribute to the pricing attractiveness of Athens.

Data showed that for the first nine months of the year arrivals at Athens’ airport dropped by 2.07 percent.

During a press conference last month, Aegean Airlines Vice President Eftichios Vasilakis described the need to reduce AIA’s fees as “urgent” so revenue could be strengthened.

AIA is said to be one of the most expensive airports in Europe as the total charge per passenger is 42 euros (for A320 aircraft with 100 passengers) compared to airports in Barcelona and Madrid (17 euros), Milan and Rome (18 euros), Istanbul (16 euros) and Lisbon (16 euros).

SETE has requested for the Greek Government to reverse the situation via the management contract of the airport, which is to soon be extended and signed with German construction giant Hochtief.

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