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Low-cost Air Travel Taking a Bite Out of Greek Ferry Share

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Greek ferry service providers have repeatedly warned that the emergence of low-cost airlines will have an irreversible impact on the sector. Now, a European Parliament study has come to back that up.

According to a report titled “Focus on Ferries”, competition from low cost air carriers combined with the ongoing economic crisis are taking a toll on the ferry sector.

Zakynthos Island - Greece, airplane at Dionysios Solomos airport. Photo source: panoramio.comIndicators include the number of travelers transported, the number and frequency of routes, the number of vessels carrying out routes as well as the domestic or intra-EU ferry services. More than half of the routes are operated in the Mediterranean, whose fleet outnumbers the other two regions in terms of both size and capacity.

In 2013, 400 million passengers went through EU ports, remaining at the same levels with the previous year. EU maritime passengers are mainly carried by domestic or intra-EU ferry services that are concentrated in three regions: the Baltic, the North Sea and the Mediterranean. According to the study, the economic crisis has mostly impacted the Mediterranean region with all the more people reluctant to travel.

In Greece, the number of passengers dropped by 9.98 million, down by 22.6 percent between 2008 and 2013, while vehicle transport fell by 640,000 or 30.4 percent.

At the same time, the report found that the number of ferries in operation in the region also dropped in the 2006-2012 period from 722 ships in 2007 to 671 (down by 7 percent) in 2012.

The findings also refer to the rates, which are directly connected to the pricing policy of the ferry operator, airline fares and variations in fuel costs.

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  1. Eric Anderson Reply

    This was bound to happen and easily foreseeable to frequent ferry customers.
    The price of flying to to the Ionian islands has substantially lowered over the years. However, ferry operators on the Adriatic route have increased their prices very substantially. We have been regular ferry users on this route, but now fly more than we drive due to the high costs involved in the crossing for any of the routes Italy – Mainland Greece.

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