Greek Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Christos Staikouras on Sunday announced measures aiming to facilitate passengers leaving Rhodes and the smooth operation of the island’s airport, given the conditions created by the wildfires that broke out on the island on previous days.
The measures were announced following a meeting of the minister with the airport’s general manager of operations from Fraport Greece, Panagiotis Spyratos, the president of the Union of Air Traffic Controllers of Greece, Panagiotis Psaros, and representatives of tour operators TUI and Jet2 that handle the largest volume of passengers on Rhodes.
According to an announcement by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the measures to facilitate passengers are as follows:
– Scheduling of repatriation flights with TUI and Jet2 – all flights of both companies will arrive empty on the island to pick up passengers.
– Set up of a Help Desk at the airport, staffed by representatives of embassies and the Greek police, to assist and facilitate passengers without the necessary travel documents.
– Meal vouchers to passengers waiting to depart Rhodes and the addition of 300 seats (provided by the Municipality of Rhodes) to deal with the increased and emergency needs at the airport.
– Activation of the Crisis Management Center, with representatives of the airlines and ground handling operators for the immediate and better facilitation of all passengers.
– Addition of extra staff at the airport, after contacting ground handling operators, to better serve the needs of passengers.
– Necessary measures by air traffic control for the orderly operation of the increased flight traffic.
All measures will be monitored by the ministry’s Crisis Management Center at the airport headed by Minister Staikouras.
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, approximately 2,700 passengers will have departed Rhodes on 14 flights of TUI and Jet2 by 3 am, Monday.
It is noted that the airport generally is operating with increased passenger traffic at the peak of the tourist season, serving at the same time many aerial firefighting flights. By 00:00 am, 44 flights (departures and arrivals) were recorded at the airport of Rhodes with approximately 14,500 passengers.
Sunday marks the sixth day Rhodes is battling wildfires fanned by strong winds.
An evacuation operation began on the island on Saturday and has turned into the largest one ever in Greece.
Fraport Greece: Rhodes’ airport fully operational
Fraport Greece, which operates and manages the island’s airport, ensured Rhodes’ Diagoras Airport is fully operational.
“Αll airport staff and partners are making every effort to assist the thousands of tourists who wish to depart from the island, always in cooperation with the respective authorities,” Fraport Greece said in an announcement.
To ensure the optimal service of the passenger community, Fraport Greece advises travelers to first consult their airline and the tour operators for any changes to scheduled flights due to the emergency conditions and also to contact local authorities, embassies / consulates, for smooth access to the airport.
“In this very difficult moment for the island and its residents, our thoughts are with all those who are fighting under extremely adverse conditions to bring the fire under control,” Fraport Greece said.