Fierce, Cheap Competition Driving Ryanair Out of Greece

THENS – Much criticized for its service, budget airline Ryanair will close operations in the Greek capital Oct. 29, blaming the government and international airport officials, but said really because it couldn’t compete with more low-cost competition.
The Irish airline’s share of the market in Greece shrank to 7 percent  although Ryanair said there weren’t enough incentives from the Athens airport and government and wasn’t allowed to park two aircraft there.

The dominant player is Aegean, which has 40 percent of the domestic market during a time when air travel is booming again even during the waning COVID-19 pandemic after dropping off over earlier lockdowns.

The Greek-run Sky Express also increased the number of aircraft it operates in the country and has taken a 15 percent share and Ryanair couldn’t keep up with other budget rivals such as easyJet, Volotea and Wizz, the report said.

With fees paid after the completion of investments in the 14 regional airports increasing, Ryanair’s decision means it won’t operate European routes to Athens.

Travel agents told the paper that Ryanair was already limited to one or two destinations, primarily Santorini, because of the pandemic and travel restrictions and is known for being provocative to get publicity.

“Athens airport, together with the other Greek airports belonging to German monopoly group Fraport, offer no incentive to stimulate traffic during the winter season, to develop tourism outside the peak season and to connect Athens with other destinations,” the airline said.

“The government does not provide long-term incentives to airlines to invest in Athens airport in off-peak periods or develop tourism in the way that Spain, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus did,” while “it applies a fee development of airports of 12 euros ($11.91) per passenger,” the statement added.


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