Greek Gov’t Plans to Extend Remote Island Discounts to Air Transport
Following a successful run of the “metaforiko isodynamo”, or transport equivalent program, offering special discounts for the transportation of goods and people to/from 49 remote Greek islands, the government is now mulling extending the program to air travel.
Alternate Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios announced on Friday, that he was already in talks with airlines in order to be ready to offer air travel and transport subsidies to islanders by June.
Santorinios said a relevant amendment would be tabled in parliament “in the next few days”, adding that after finalizing technical issues, a joint ministerial decision would set out the terms and conditions for the implementation of the measure.
Currently the residents of 49 Greek islands are eligible for discounts after registering on metaforikoisodynamo.gr and submitting TAXIS codes, personal data and IBAN number in order for the returns to be deposited. Upon completion, users receive an islander code which they present to ferry agencies when purchasing their tickets and at the end of each month receive in their bank account the amount of the tax-deductible discount.
The same procedure applies for set costs involving the transport of goods to and from the islands. In order to be eligible for the discounts, companies must retain a record of the relevant documents – bill of lading, invoices and professional vehicle fares (in the case of own transportation).
So far, more than 8,300 island-based businesses have registered and received or are expected to receive for the transport of products and raw materials an average 43 percent discount on transport costs. At the same time, the measure has thus far subsidized over 62,000 islanders for a total of 60,000 trips.
Addressing a press conference on Rhodes, Santorinios said the program – covering coastal ferry tickets and freight transport – will soon include fuel costs, which he said the government expects will apply to all 49 islands by next year in order to ensure fair and equal prices with those in Attica.
In the meantime, enterprises, based on Greek islands eligible to receive the “transport equivalent” (or metaforiko isodynamo) special discount for the transportation of goods, can now register online at www.etaforikoisodynamo.gr and receive their unique islander code.