A Ryanair media image of one of the aircraft in its fleet of more than 300 Boeing 737-800s. The low-fare airline is opening new bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, and is adding new flight routes to Greece.
More flights: Getting to Greece is becoming a lot easier — and cheaper — with low-cost airline Ryanair announcing today that it will establish bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, and will add nine new flight routes in April.
The new bases and flights are part of a $280 million (U.S.) investment that Irish-based is making in Greece, which last year experienced a strong increase in tourist visits that could be matched or even exceeded in 2014.
Beginning in April, two aircraft will be based at Ryanair’s new operations centre in Athens. They will enable Ryanair to offer 154 flights per week on six new routes — to the Greek cities of Chania, Rhodes and Thessaloniki, to Paphos in Cyprus, and to London and Milan.
Also starting in April, one aircraft will be based at Thessaloniki, This will give Ryanair the opportunity to provide up to 212 weekly flights to Athens, Pisa and Warsaw.
Ryanair already has one base in Greece — at Chania airport.
Travellers will benefit from cheaper fares
In a media announcement about the airline’s expansion into Greece, Ryanair’s director of commercial operations, David O’Brien, said the new routes will benefit consumers who until now have not had a cheaper alternative to Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air, which currently dominate flights in the Greek travel market.
“Our 6 new Athens routes will allow Greek consumers and visitors to escape Aegean/Olympic’s high fares and instead enjoy Ryanair’s lowest fares and industry leading customer service and punctuality. Only Ryanair, with its 175 new aircraft order, can deliver the capacity, new markets and low costs demanded by Greek consumers and visitors, and looks forward to working with Athens Airport to unlock the vast potential currently suppressed by high access air costs,” Mr. O’Brien said.
Ryanair investment could create 2,800+ jobs
The new operations bases and flights will benefit more than just travellers booking Ryanair flights — they will create thousands of jobs and give the struggling Greek economy a big boost, too.
Ryanair estimates that its Thessaloniki base will handle 1.6 million passengers annually and will create 1,600 on-site jobs. It expects the Athens base to handle over 1.2 million passengers a year, and create more than 1,200 jobs.
Flights on the new routes to and from Thessaloniki and Athens will go on sale Wednesday, January 15.
If you have free time to travel in Europe during February or March, check out the special seat sale that Ryanair is offering to celebrate its expansion in Greece. Until midnight on Thursday January 16, the airline is releasing 100,000 seats with fares starting as low as £16.99. Bookings can be made at www.ryanair.com.