Ryanair to close Athens base next month

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Ryanair to close Athens base next month

Ryanair has blamed the Greek Government’s failure to provide long-term incentives to airlines its decision to close its Athens base during the winter.

The airline is continuing to sell flights to and from Athens over the winter, but it announced last week that it won’t have aircraft or crew based at the airport from 29 October.

It said that, unlike the Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Cypriots, the Greeks aren’t providing incentives for airlines to operate during off-peak periods.

Ryanair closed its Rhodes base this summer and the airline said capacity will be switched to other destinations, such as Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal.

In a press release, the airline added: “Unfortunately for Greek citizens, the decision to sell most of the Greek airports to high-cost German operators has had a devastating impact on job creation, as these foreign operators are strangling the Greek economy by restricting the flow of tourists and business connections and do not care to lower prices to stimulate traffic.”

Ryanair said the Greek Government had failed to respond to its request to lower its airport charges, which it said had happened in Croatia, Ireland, Portugal and elsewhere.

Instead, it said it had introduced a ‘penal airport development tax’ of €12 per passenger.

“We again ask Minister for Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias, to reply to our written growth proposals in which we offer to transform Greece’s tourism market over the next five years by doubling traffic to 10m passengers per annum, bolstering off-peak tourism, creating 4,000 local jobs, and supporting much-needed regional development,” said Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson.

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