The American market is proving to be the biggest gambit of the year for Greece’s holiday season. Despite advice released from the State Department this week that Americans should avoid traveling to Greece, along with 130 other countries, due to the difficult epidemiological situation this summer the major US carriers have scheduled the highest number of direct flights to Athens in many years.
Notably, this August there will be at least seven direct services between the US and Athens International Airport; if one also counts connection flights to Athens and the country’s regional airports via major European cities, an estimated 40,000 seats will be available per week for trips from the US to Greece.
United Airlines is launching a daily service between New York (Newark) and Athens on June 3, and another between Washington and Athens from July 1. Delta is starting even earlier, flying from New York (JFK) to Athens every day as of May 28. Delta will have two daily flights from New York and one from Atlanta.
American will have a daily service from JFK to Athens from June 3 and a daily flight from Chicago to Athens from June 4. American will also operate a direct flight from Philadelphia to Athens from August 17. Emirates will also have daily scheduled flights from Newark to Athens from June 1. All these flights are already on the online booking systems of these airlines. According to sources from Athens International Airport who spoke to Kathimerini, we will find out in late May whether this planned availability will translate into bookings.
Travel between the United States and Greece has been allowed since April 19 and, if it is not undermined by the pandemic and the epidemiological situation in Greece, is expected to significantly boost the tourism industry, especially in Athens. This is largely because, of all the foreign tourists who visit Greece, Americans spend the most per person, and in 2019 ranked first in a report by the Bank of Greece on the countries that contributed the most tourist revenues with over 1.18 billion dollars and 1.17 million tourists.
Greece’s cultivation of a very good brand name last year (the first year of the pandemic), viewed as a safe destination, and the significant concentrated demand for international travel by Americans recorded by both airlines and tour operators have led the airline operators to put on as many direct flights to Greece as they can this year.