A six-month extension has been given to airline companies serving remote Greek islands whose contracts expire next month, Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis said this week, adding that the government was planning to reduce or abolish unprofitable routes and cancel subsidies in areas where flights are not deemed necessary.
Unable to launch a new tender in time, the Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) has extended the deadline to September 30, in order to ensure that the remote Greek islands remain connected during the peak summer season.
Mr Spirtzis has called on the four airlines currently operating remote island itineraries to re-negotiate their contracts with the HCAA for an extended airline service. Decisions are expected to be announced by March 8.
Mr Spirtzis has repeatedly said that the current system is costing some 45 million euros and will soon undergo restructuring based on criteria such as seasonality, passenger traffic, mileage, island population and economic characteristics of each area. The minister added that this is a step in the right direction following the privatization of 14 regional airports earlier this year.