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Athens International Airport S.A. - Eleftherios Venizelos

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The importance of the UK market at Athens and the British Airways contribution

Strong growth of the UK market at Athens International Airport with +7% in the first 4 months of 2024, following the 15% growth achieved in 2023 versus 2019

On the 20th of May 2024, Athens International Airport organized a Press Event and a Trade Event for British Airways to showcase the strong development of the UK market at Athens and the Premium Product British Airways has on offer. The event was  held at the Iconic Grande Bretagne Hotel at the center of Athens, obviously symbolizing the Great Britain “element” at the heart of the city! All major Greek media, as well as most important travel agents attended the very successful events.


With the United Kingdom being one of the top two source markets for international visitors to Greece, British Airways is significantly boosting Greek tourism by driving increased UK arrivals at Athens. The UK market at Athens International Airport increased from about 870 thousand round-trip direct PAX in 2002 to 1.85 million in 2023. The UK market is so strong at Athens, as it surpassed 2019 previous high by 15% in 2023 and growing further in 2024 (Jan – Apr) by 7%, already above 0.5 million round-trip direct PAX. London accounts for 83% of Athens total direct traffic to/from UK in 2023.


In recent years, the UK market has played a key role in extending Athens tourism season, nearly doubling its volume during the off-peak period in 2023 compared to previous years, notably 2016. Specifically, tourist arrivals to Athens from the British market increased by 138,000 passengers in 2023 compared to 2016, representing a 77 percent rise between October and April. It is worth mentioning that the Greek capital’s airport welcomes almost 47 percent of British travelers who visit Athens annually during the so-called “low” season of the year, a fact which demonstrates the contribution of the UK market to the smoothing out of the seasonality effect. 

British Airways has recorded spectacular growth in recent years, and its contribution to the development of the Athens market over the years is significant. From 2002 to date, British Airways has transported more than 7.8 million travelers to Athens Airport. During January-April 2024 alone, the British flag carrier recorded a 6.6 percent increase in the number of passengers it carried to the Greek capital compared to the same period in 2023. Last year, approximately 400,000 travelers from the UK landed in Athens via British Airways flights.

During the media briefing, British Airways Regional Commercial Manager Mr Emil Delibashev showcased the airline’s Premium Product, which represents the largest-ever financial investment of £7 billion to be distributed across 600 different initiatives over the next few years. These initiatives include new seat designs for its narrow-body aircraft, the introduction of new lounges, and the acquisition of new aircraft, aiming to further enrich leading premium BA products such as Club Europe and Club World.