Irish low-cost airline Ryanair said on 1 August that it would create new bases in Athens and Thessaloniki and boost passenger traffic to Greece by 10 million if Athens International Airport (AIA) would drop the air passenger duty for new routes to and from Athens and reduce airport charges for all airlines in Athens by 5 euros per passenger.
During a press conference held in Athens, Ryanair’s deputy director of development services, Kate Sherry, reiterated the airline’s “Rescue plan for Greek tourism” originally introduced in April.
Ms. Sherry described AIA’s pricing policy as “very expensive” and said that Greek carrier Aegean Airlines was a monopoly.
“Cyprus Airways and Olympic Air are stopping significant domestic routes resulting in a further reduction of 870,000 passengers and leaving high cost Aegean to monopolize the three most important domestic routes,” she said.
Ryanair’s deputy director of development services said that “only Ryanair could increase passenger traffic to Greece by 40 percent.”
She added that international access to Greece is uncompetitive since other cities such as Madrid and Rome are quite cheaper and argued that Athens Airport is “closed to low cost airlines.”
Ryanair insists its policy could bring four million passengers to Athens, two million to Thessaloniki and another four million to other Greek regional airports.
According to the company’s estimates, their policy would create thousands of new jobs and 4.5 billion euros in tourism revenue annually.
Ms. Sherry said Ryanair could launch its plan in October 2013 with the creation of two bases in Athens and Thessaloniki and expanding their cooperation with the airports of Mytilini, Ioannina and Kavala.