The 14 Greek regional airports operated and managed by Fraport Greece will see an annual 45 percent drop in passenger traffic in 2021 compared to 2019, according to Executive Director, Commercial & Business Development George Vilos.
Speaking during a conference held in Athens on Wednesday, Vilos said Fraport Greece handled 70 percent less passenger traffic in 2020 year-on-year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Circumstances are different this year… but the big picture remains the same… Airports operate throughout the year whether they serve one passenger or millions of travelers,” Vilos said during the event.
He went on to explain that although 2021 passenger traffic increased during the July – October period almost to the levels of 2019, the year is expected to close with a 45 percent drop for the 12-month period (compared to 2019).
‘Long road to recovery’
According to Vilos, the road to recovery will be long considering that Covid-19 epidemiological data sees constant change throughout the world and inflation remains high.
“These are scary numbers for any company,” he said, referring to passenger traffic of 2020-21. “However we are looking into the future with optimism as we receive positive messages from the aviation industry with airlines willing to invest in Greece and increase itineraries for the summer of 2022, even to the levels of 2019.”
Fraport is now focusing on attracting more airlines to Greece and establishing new routes as well as air connections.
During the event, Vilos also warned of a strong competition coming from other Mediterranean destinations that are on their way to recovery and may bounce back next year.
Investments completed ahead of schedule
Despite the challenges of the coronavirus era, Fraport Greece successfully completed its 500-million-euro investment plan for the upgrade of its 14 airports under its management in January 2021– ahead of the April contractual deadline.
Unfortunately, the three-year investment project coincided with the outbreak of the pandemic that halted all aviation activity in March 2020, “literally within five days”, according to Vilos.
“However, we’ve managed to create 14 modern gateways to Greece, each worthy of its destination, with quality standards equal to those of international airports around the world,” he added.
Vilos participated in a panel discussion under the theme “Infrastructure, policies and incentives for attracting investments” during the Next is Now conference held in Athens on November 24.
The shareholders of Fraport Greece are the German airport operator Fraport AG and the Greek business development organization Copelouzos Group.