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Athens Welcomes 6.6% Surge in UK Arrivals from British Airways During January-April

British Airways is making a significant impact on Greek tourism by increasing UK arrivals at Athens International Airport (AIA). According to data presented on Monday, the British flag carrier saw a 6.6 percent rise in the number of passengers it brought to Athens during January-April compared to the same period in 2023. Last year, nearly 400,000 travelers from the UK arrived in Athens via British Airways.

"British Airways has recorded spectacular growth in recent years, significantly contributing to the development of the Athens market," said Ioanna Papadopoulou, AIA's Director of Communication and Marketing, during a press briefing. Since 2002, British Airways has transported over 7.8 million travelers to Athens.

As the UK's largest airline, British Airways operates 4-5 daily flights from Athens to Heathrow and connects the UK with 15 Greek destinations, including Thessaloniki and various Greek islands.

UK: A Top Market for Athens Airport

Papadopoulou highlighted the British market's significance for Athens' tourism. From January to April, the British market ranked third in international direct traffic and second in foreign arrivals, showing a 24 percent increase over the same months in 2023.

"The British market is dynamically developing for Athens and closely aligns with the German market,"

Papadopoulou noted.

The summer months are expected to provide a clearer picture of this year's growth.

According to last year's data, Germany was the top market for Athens Airport, though it did not reach pre-pandemic numbers. The UK, however, was the second top market, up 9 percent from 2019.

Contribution to Season Extension

London, as a destination, holds an 83 percent share of the total UK market in Athens. Nearly 47 percent of British travelers visit Athens during the shoulder months of October to April, significantly extending the tourism season.

"In recent years, the UK market has nearly doubled its volume during the off-peak period, playing a key role in extending Greece’s tourism season,"

Papadopoulou said.

In 2023, tourist arrivals from the UK increased by 138,000 passengers compared to 2016, a 77 percent rise during October-April.

On the Athens-London route, 62 percent of passengers travel for leisure, 25 percent visit friends and relatives, and 10 percent are business travelers. Foreign visitors residing abroad make up 62 percent of the total, while Greeks residing in Greece or abroad account for 37 percent.

British Airways: £7 Billion Investment Plan

During the media briefing, British Airways' Regional Commercial Manager, Emil Delibashev, outlined the airline’s "Premium Proposition," which includes a £7 billion investment across 600 initiatives over the next few years. These initiatives feature new seat designs for narrow-body aircraft, new lounges, and the acquisition of new aircraft, including 8 new Airbus A320neo and A321neo planes.

On the occasion of today’s event, British Airways’ Regional Commercial Manager, Mr. Emil Delibashev, stated:

“Following on both our full year 2023 and Q1 2024 strong financial results, we have just announced our biggest ever financial investment of 7 billion GBP to be spread over 600 different initiatives over the next few years. This gives us the confidence that we will continue to connect Greece with UK and the 180 plus destinations that we do fly to beyond London, with leading premium aviation products such as Club Europe and Club World.”


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