As yet another summer nears its end, I wanted to make a thread on how my home airport, LGAV, has progressed over the last year, what was new this summer and what will be new next summer. This includes lots and lots of new routes as well as new airline service!
Summary & History
First off, what & where is LGAV?
Athens “Eleftherios Venizelos” International Airport (ICAO: LGAV, IATA: ATH) is the airport serving Athens, the largest city in Greece. Greece is a country in Southern Europe on the Mediterranean coast, known for its warm summer climate and bustling tourism.
Ok, so what about it?
LGAV has had one of the most successful summers in years. New routes, a complete interior modernization, new service as well as more frequent service has all contributed to this. After its numbers had gone down by far after 2008 due to the economical crisis and Olympic Airways abandoning all its operations, it has finally started prospering and looking upwards again. This can most clearly be seen in the passenger growth: in S18, Athens had 11.9% more passengers than 2017. The number has steadily been growing since 2015, mainly due to increasing tourism demand. They also won the “Best European Airport” award for the 15-25 million passenger category, beating Brussels, Copenhagen and Dublin! This is also due to their excellent modernization work.
Route Changes & New Airlines
Several new airlines have started servicing Athens, while a few airlines have also expanded their route system out of LGAV. I will try to list the most important ones, that happened this summer, below:
- Volotea, the Spanish low-cost carrier, expanded their base at LGAV and now service 10+ destinations out of Athens.
- Scoot started servicing LGAV with their 787 Dreamliner from Singapore. Athens was the first European destination that they serviced!
- Ryanair added 12 new routes, adding to their 20+ routes they already operated
- Aegean Airlines added 13 new routes, adding to their 100+ routes they already operated
- Qatar started servicing Athens 3 times a day (A350 and Dreamliner among them!), while Air China started a direct long-haul service to Beijing 4 times a week!
- New Airlines servicing Athens: Cyprus Airways, WizzAir, FlyNas, Primera Air
All in all, 320 new weekly flights have been added this summer, while the frequency has been increased on 26 routes!
Why is there this Dynamic Growth?
Earlier this year, Aegean Airlines, the city of Athens, and AIA (Athens Intl. Airport) formed the Athens Tourist Partnership. The goal was to promote Athens as an attractive year-round touristic destination. Athens, being one of the oldest cities in the world, has an insane amount of ancient monuments to offer, including the world-reknowned Parthenon. Due to other countries popular for tourists in the Mediterranean are suffering under political unrest, Greece’s tourism numbers have soared and actually hit their highest ever mark in 2018! Currently, despite the economical crisis still going on, aviation in Greece is on a steady rise and Athens is no exception.
It may be too early to foresee this, but I can see things getting even better for Athens next year. American Airlines has already announced a Chicago O’Hare-Athens service for 2019! This will be operated by the Dreamliner and in addition to the A330-operated PHL-Athens route. Delta and Air Canada are also considering year-round service from JFK and YYZ (these routes are already operated in summer). Athens Intl. Airport has publicly stated that their goal is to expand their US & East service, which is very good to see! Additionally, Oman Air will bring their 737 Max to LGAV for the first time next summer!
By now, I’ve probably flown out of/into LGAV 60-75 times in my life, and I really like the way things have been progressing lately. Finally, the country and its infrastructure is starting to rise from the ashes of the economic crisis. Aegean Airlines, Greece’s national carrier, is also growing massively, and things are looking quite good at the moment for aviation in Athens and also the rest of Greece.
What do you guys think of this? Do you think the changes are good or not necessary? Let me know!🙂