Charter flights are returning to Greece this summer, in a crucial segment of the air market that also comes with holiday packages so its significance for local tourism is considerable.
The key to the increase in the flow of charter flights to Greece is the easing of travel restrictions in countries such as Poland, Latvia, Israel, Switzerland, Hungary and Slovenia, while demand – albeit significantly smaller than the yardstick season of 2019 – is also coming from France and Germany.
For the dates from late June onward there has been a major increase in charter flights scheduled primarily from the Scandinavian countries and mainly to Crete, as Greece has improved its position on the tourism map compared to last year.
For example, Romanian travel company Aerovacante, which belongs to the Aerotravel Group, has prepared flights and package holidays from mid-June to end-September out of Bucharest, Iasi, Timisoara and Cluj to Skiathos, with four charter flights per week. Czech carrier Smartwings has also scheduled charter flights to Kavala, Skiathos, Kythira, Kalamata, Limnos and Santorini.
That trend, concerning secondary markets and secondary destinations in Greece, and the increase in demand have even led to charter flights for November, according to market professionals, which is a strong indication that the tourism season will extend for longer than has been the case to date.
This activity toward destinations around the country has also driven the strategy of Greek carrier Aegean: As the Greek flag carrier’s management has said, the local airline is ready to increase its activity at regional airports depending on demand, through not just scheduled but also chartered flights in cooperation with major travel agents.
Charter flights from Russia may also resume from June 20, if what Polykarpos Efstathiou, the director of the Greek National Tourism Organization Office for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, said about a gradual resumption of those flights thanks to the improvement of the pandemic picture in Greece proves correct.
Another market trend points to foreign tour operators booking seats on scheduled flights by Greek carriers, as there is a degree of excess seat supply that in most cases is not covered by demand.