Minister: Direct Flights from US to Greece to Continue in the Winter
Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said this week that talks were underway with airlines to secure direct flights from the United States to Greece for the fall and winter season.
Kikilias announced the news to the Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA) on the sidelines of the “Travel Leaders” forum at Lagonisi, eastern Attica.
During the “Aviation & Airline Industry” event, top executives from three US airlines confirmed strong interest in Greece and particularly in Athens, which they said was a top destination of choice for American holidaymakers.
Kikilias told the conference that a series of actions had been taken over time to increase connectivity with the US which resulted in nine direct flights to Greece a day and 63 flights a week.
“We’ve never had 500,000 travelers coming directly from America to Athens,” he said, adding that the ministry’s priority was now to increase the number of direct flights beyond the summer months.
“Our main priority is to extend the tourist season. In June alone, visitor arrivals [from the US] were up by 50 percent over 2019. I have been informed that most companies have already extended their itineraries for the upcoming months,” he said.
On the sidelines of the event, Kikilias met with representatives from American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines, who confirmed interest in extending flights into the fall and winter months.
According to ANA-MPA, Delta is planning to extend its New York Athens route through to January 10, 2023, to meet holiday demand.
Minister Kikilias reiterated his proposal to launch direct flights from the US to Thessaloniki adding that the city’s Makedonia Airport can evolve into a hub serving the entire Balkan region.
According to the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Greece continues to be a leading holiday choice for American travelers this year.
ASTA Greece & Cyprus Chapter President Leonidas Babanis announced that next month the association in collaboration with Greek organizations would be holding a series of promotional events in the US. “Greece is among ASTA’s distinguished destinations, especially for this year,” he said.