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Greece Opens its Skies for Flights to Athens and Thessaloniki

Greece on Monday, June 15, officially welcomed international travel at the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki, with health protocols and safety rules in place, following three months of Covid-19 restrictions.

Athens International Airport (AIA) saw an increase in the number of flights abroad, as it was the only airport in Greece accepting international flights (from specific countries and under restrictions) during the pandemic.

The first international arrivals to Athens on Monday were from Larnaca, Cyprus. During the day, the airport also welcomed flights from other destinations including Amsterdam, Paris, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Brussels and Düsseldorf. AIA on Monday received a total of 28 flights from other countries.

Thessaloniki Airport “Makedonia”, which had not received international flights for three months, welcomed the arrival of two flights.

It is noted that arriving passengers at both airports are tested for Covid-19, either randomly or specifically, depending on where their trip originated from.

Until June 30, flights to Greece from abroad are only allowed to land in Athens and Thessaloniki. Greece’s other airports will begin welcoming flights as of July 1.

Greece is currently accepting flights only from European airports, as the government is following the Commission’s directive and maintaining restrictions on non-essential travel from non-EU countries until July 1.

Athens International Airport

On the occasion of Greece reopening to international travel and restarting tourism, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis visited Athens Airport.

“The message from Greek tourism’s opening is a hopeful message for the whole world,” Theoharis said, adding that he hopes travelers will observe how safe Greece is and prefer the country.

“The picture from today’s opening of Greek tourism is very positive,” the minister added, underlining that everyone must give the utmost importance to safety measures.

“Individual responsibility continues to exist, it does not disappear,” Theoharis said.

AIA Communications & Marketing Director Ioanna Papadopoulou; Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and AIA’s robot, Pepper.

Later in the day, the tourism minister traveled to Thessaloniki Airport “Makedonia” and was briefed by the supervisor of Civil Protection Spyros Varsamis, on the progress of arrivals and testing of passengers.

“The management of the situation appears very good and the process of checking all passengers was completed within an hour. This proves that with proper organization, it is possible to deal with the flows of all flights with the necessary adjustments,” the minister said.

Theoharis thanked the airport’s employees and the Civil Protection, “who are at the forefront of dealing with the coronavirus, dealing with the battle for the safe opening of Greek tourism”.

Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia

Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias and Regional Governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas.

The first flight to land at Thessaloniki Airport “Makedonia” on Monday was from Munich, with 160 passengers.

The passengers were welcomed by the Regional Governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias and the Mayor of Thessaloniki Konstantinos Zervas.

“Today we welcomed the first visitors from abroad at the airport ‘Makedonia’, which opened for international flights… I would like to request from all entrepreneurs, tourism professionals and our fellow citizens, to strictly and faithfully follow the measures and health protocols. We must, at all costs, maintain the successful management of the health crisis from the pandemic and have no setbacks,” Tzitzikostas said.

Underlining that the health and safety of Greeks and visitors is top priority, the governor said that the some 3,200 tourism professionals in the region are following specialized seminars on health protocols to increase the level of safety in tourism businesses.

“The danger is not gone, the virus is still here and we all need to be very careful. We are here today to send the message that this year’s tourist season is starting with absolute safety,” Tzitzikostas added.

Useful information for travel to Greece

Currently, flights to Greece are only through Athens and Thessaloniki airports.

Regarding travelers arriving from EU airports, Greece is following two procedures: one for flights from airports that are included on the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) affected area list and one for flights from airports that are not included on the list.

For travelers coming from an airport on the EASA list

Travelers whose trip originates in or transits from an airport on the EASA affected area list, should expect to be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival in Athens or Thessaloniki. Travelers are required to stay overnight at a designated hotel to await the results (24 hours) and if the test is negative, they are released and permitted to travel to their final destination. If the test is positive, they are quarantined under supervision for 14 days.

For travelers arriving from an airport not on the EASA list

Travelers are subject to random testing and must self-isolate in a hotel of choice until the test results are available the next day. If a test is positive for Covid-19, the traveler will be under supervised quarantine at a designated hotel for 14 days.

According to a NOTAM issued late Monday by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, and until further notice, all passengers arriving at Thessaloniki Airport will undergo Covid-19 tests.

For further information, travelers are advised to contact the closest Greek Embassy or consulate prior to travel or consult directly with the airport.

* Please note: Restrictions, testing requirements, and mandatory quarantine measures are reported and updated based on official information provided to GTP Headlines by health and government authorities, and are subject to change depending on how successful Covid-19 management/infection rates reported at airports of origin and according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines.

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  1. Stephen Cronin Reply

    Why Brussels bit not London, when Belgium is in a far worse state than the UK, virus-wise?

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