Greece’s airports saw activity gather momentum in 2021 with 12-month passenger traffic up by 80.9 percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to tentative data released recently by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA).
Despite the increase over 2020, Greek airport traffic is still down by 44.2 percent over pre-pandemic 2019, a milestone year for Greek tourism.
In the 12-month period under review, Greece’s airports welcomed 35.8 million passengers up by 80.9 percent from 19.8 million in 2020. Passenger traffic was down however by 44.2 percent when compared to 2019 and 64.1 million passengers.
In the same period, the country’s airports handled a total of 384,248 flights up from 253,653 in 2020 marking a 51.5 percent increase. Of the total, 165,113 were domestic and 219,135 international flights. Compared to 2019 however, flights were down by 27 percent.
Greece managed to extend the tourism season in 2021 reflected in HCAA data for December, which recorded a 367.3 percent increase in overall (arrivals and departures) passenger traffic to 1,769,600 from 378,656 passengers in 2020. According to the same data, international arrivals were up by 413.1 percent in December 2021 to 457,773 from 89,213 in the same month in 2020.
The number of flights also increased in December to 22,290 up from 10,401 in 2020 marking a 114.3 percent increase.
Meanwhile, according to data published by Fraport Greece, the managing company of 14 regional airports across Greece, activity was down by 40 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019 levels.
A total of 17.4 million travelers went through the airports of Aktion, Chania, Corfu, Kavala, Kefalonia, Thessaloniki , Zakynthos, Kos, Mytilini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini and Skiathos, marking a 102.4 percent rise compared to 2020 and 8.6 million passengers.
In the same 12-month period in 2021, the country’s largest airport, Athens International Airport (AIA) handled 12.35 million passengers, up by 52.8 percent over 2020 figures but still down by 51.7 percent compared to pre-pandemic 2019.