Remote Greek islands are feeling the brunt of reduced government spending with the transport ministry announcing a 63 percent drop in subsidies for airlines undertaking flights to these regions and tourism sector professionals expressing their discontent.
According to Greek daily Ta Nea, aviation insiders are saying that decreased government allocations to airlines serving remote routes have made it “prohibitive for carriers to participate in the new tender” launched by the Civil Aviation Authority. The deadline for bids to take on the operation of 28 remote routes for the October 2016-September 2020 period has been set for August 3.
Meanwhile, tourism sector professionals and locals are ringing alarm bells, saying the lack of connections will inevitably lead to a decline in revenue from tourism, particularly for the smallest islands.
The previous tender for the March 2012-March 2016 period with bids submitted by Olympic Air, Astra, Sky Express and Aegean received subsidies to the tune of 157.4 million euros or 39.35 million per year.
Earlier this year, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis had said the current “costly” system would undergo restructuring based on criteria such as seasonality, passenger traffic, mileage, island population and economic characteristics of each area.