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Ryanair Seeks Incentives to Boost Passenger Numbers to Greece

Low-cost carrier Ryanair pledged this week to boost passenger capacity to Greece over the next five years as part of its expansion plan.

The company said it had put forward its proposal to the Greek Tourism Ministry and was waiting for a response.

More specifically in its rapid growth plan submitted in September 2021, Ryanair commits to: 

double passenger numbers from 5 million to 10 million per year 
reduce seasonality with over 2 million passengers annually during off-peak periods 
increase regional tourism with growth at regional airports that are currently underserved 
generate 1 billion euros in increased tourism revenue for the Greek economy 
– deliver year-round visitors 
– create 4,000 jobs.

In return, the airline said it was calling on Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias to follow the example of other European countries and introduce tourism recovery incentives to boost tourism. 

“These schemes have proven invaluable to tourism recovery and growth by providing lower access charges to drive the region’s competitiveness and attract airlines that in return drive traffic, connectivity, and jobs,” said Ryanair. 

Photo Source: @Ryanair

In its statement it goes on to refer to Greek airport charges, which it claims have increased by up to 40 percent since 2019, and to an airport development fee, “which makes Greece uncompetitive over other EU countries”. 

It adds that “there is simply no incentive for Ryanair or any other airlines to fly to the Greek islands and regions outside of the peak season of July and August”.

“Unlike other European tourist economies such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Croatia, which have transformed their regional tourism product by lowering access costs to bring year-round tourists, Greece has zero incentives to encourage Ryanair or any other airlines to fly to the Greek Islands and the regions outside of the peak season, when Greece has such a superb off-peak tourist product,” said Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson during a meeting in Athens in September 2021. Photo source: @Vkikilias

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson during a meeting in Athens in September 2021. Photo source: @Vkikilias

Wilson said Ryanair was looking forward to a response to its September proposal, which would see “a twofold increase in Greek passenger numbers, reduced seasonality, increased connectivity with underserved airports and regions creating 4,000 jobs and contributing with over 1 billion euros in tourism revenue to the Greek economy.” 

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  1. Julie Gardiner Reply

    The expat Community would love out of season flights. One or two every week to Manchester and London would definitely get filled. Many expats have been asking for direct flights to the UK during winter so they can visit friends and family. Guest Houses open all year would also appreciate the business. Not every holidaymaker wants to walk, cycle, photograph, paint etc during hot weather. Winter is ideal time for hobby tourists.

  2. R Ferguson Reply

    Ryan Air do this in every Country, they want to fly in and out for next to nothing, if the Country refused they pull out.

  3. Tony Marsh Reply

    Typical of Ryanair, always seeking to be paid for flying, with public money.

  4. Tony Marsh Reply

    Does Greece really need to double its tourist numbers ?
    Don’t look up !

    • Carl+Simpson Reply

      It’s a contradiction by the Greek government wanting all year round tourism and no incentive given to airlines who seem to offering the service they need.

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