Athens International Airport: Connecting the world one passenger at a time

ACI World by ACI World | Aug 1, 2018

Since March 2001, Athens International Airport (AIA) keeps offering high-level services, having earned the trust of airlines, passengers, partners and stakeholders. Having welcomed more than 265 million passengers at its premises, and over 3 million flights in these 17 years of operations, the airport keeps creating significant benefits for tourism, the national economy, and Athens as a destination. 2017 was a historic best performance year for the airport, both in terms of traffic, as well as in terms of financial performance, while the airport continues in 2018 its dynamic growth, for a fifth consecutive year.

Athens, dream destination and airport

More analytically, in 2017, the airport handled record 21.7 million passengers with a growing network of 137 destinations (103 international) operated by 60 airlines. Among the most significant additions to Athens’ connectivity was the launch of direct long-haul connections to Beijing, New York and Singapore. At the same time, all airlines increased significantly their operations out of Athens, with new destinations and more flights.

The dynamic trend has continued in 2018, with 10.9% growth to over eight million passengers in the first five months of the year. While domestic traffic grew slightly (+1.2%), there was a sharp increase of 16.2% in the number of international travellers. Additionally, todate, foreign residents’ international arrivals grew by 25%. The figures for the summer season are very positive, with four new airlines (Cyprus Airways, Flynas, Primera Air, Wizz Air), a new based airline (Volotea), 49 new routes, 24 new destinations and 340 new weekly flights. Frequencies have also been increased on 26 existing destinations, highlighted by Air China adding a third weekly flight on its Beijing route, and Scoot adding a fourth weekly frequency to Singapore. Capacity increases feature the deployment of the A380-800 on the 2nd daily flight of Emirates from Dubai to Athens throughout the summer and Qatar’s A350 on the Doha-Athens route. 

Key contributors to this positive outlook remain AIA’s renowned developmental strategy, with one of the most comprehensive and innovative airline incentive schemes internationally, and its strategic focus on the promotion of “destination Athens” through strategic actions, initiatives and synergies.

Consistently aiming at the enhancement of the connectivity of Athens, AIA undertakes and engages in numerous initiatives and synergies, in collaboration with the airlines and the tourism chain, in order to support and boost the growth of the destination. Along with The City of Athens, and AEGEAN, they have joined forces forming the Athens Tourism Partnership (ATP), which brings together key players from the private and public sectors for the first time, to further develop and promote Athens as an ideal, contemporary city-break destination, especially in spring, autumn and winter.

ASQ Award Winner: Best Airport in Europe

Also a result of constantly improving passenger and visitor experience at the airport, AIA has recently been awarded by the ACI World as Best Airport in Europe (15-25 million passengers’ category) in terms of service quality and passenger satisfaction; just recently, the 9,000sqm non-Schengen and 15,000sqm Schengen areas have been totally transformed. Completion of the projects marks a massive revamp, which enhances passenger experience, focusing on functionality, services, and modern design, with the synthesis of Greek classical and contemporary elements. The projects offer passengers’ redesigned areas, enhanced comfort, and plenty of options, including two centralised security points which increase security throughput by 20%. There is also an 11,000sqm commercial area and 2,000sqm of additional seating.

According to AIA CEO, Yiannis Paraschis, “Aiming at always improving customer experience, we shall continue, during 2018-2019, our investment programme of aesthetic, functional and operational enhancements with additional works and services for the travellers using our airport.”

More development ahead, to serve the growing demand

Planning of other work is currently underway, relating to operational facilities for departures and arrivals, enhanced passport control for departing passengers, additional check-in and ticket counters, as well as new retail and food and beverage areas. Meanwhile, renovation of the main terminal building toilet facilities is expected to be finished in October 2018.

Additionally, the Satellite Terminal Building (STB) has undergone a series of operational, commercial and aesthetic upgrades, targeted at improving terminal operations and enhancing passenger satisfaction. The project was completed in May 2018, involving an extensive operational and commercial reconfiguration at all levels of the building. Key upgrades include the creation of a centralised security filter, along with a fully enhanced boarding pass control facility at the centre of the STB basement entrance hall. An attractive and versatile retail environment has also been developed within a considerably larger area in departures, where a walkthrough core duty free zone is combined with expanded food & beverage units. In the same context, the 600m long underground connecting corridor between the main and satellite terminals has been aesthetically-enhanced in terms of offering passengers a dynamic and interesting experience through lighting and digital applications, as well as interactive cultural artworks.

Regarding its ecological footprint, while being the 1st Carbon Neutral Airport in Greece, and operator of one of the largest (on a 160,000 square metres area) unified PV installations at an airport worldwide, AIA implements a multi-faceted range of activities, ranging from real estate development, large-scale commercial activities, and exporting the company’s know-how in the IT&T sector. The airport’s competitive advantages showcase the significant presence of Athens International Airport among the family of leading world airports. At the same time, the airport always remains committed to its role as a responsible corporate citizen, introducing and implementing a range of programmes, actions and special CR initiatives, for the local communities and society at large. As proven by the Athens University of Economics and Business most recent study, the airport contributes to the national and local economy by 2.63% of the GDP, creating employment at a local, regional and national level.

ACI World
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