Positive news came into public spotlight last week when the American Airlines introduced a new direct flight connecting Chicago with Athens starting from the summer of 2019. The Federation of the Hellenic Associations of Travel and Tourist Agencies (FedHATTA) welcomed the positive development. The addition of a new direct flight to the U.S. market underscores the evolving dynamics of the Greek tourism sector. The introduction of a new direct flight from the reputed air carrier American Airlines to Athens International Airport epitomises this growth and provides additional opportunities to U.S. travellers to visit an exotic destination, Greece. So far, only two companies have established direct flights from the U.S. Market, Norwegian Air and American Airlines.
The American Airlines hosted a reception last week in Athens to announce the creation of the new flight route. The event was attended by numerous stakeholders of the domestic and international tourism industry, the aviation market, FedHATTA officials and a delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Athens. The new flight is envisaged to take place under Airbus A-330 widebody jets, with seating capacity roughly 240 seats. The new flight route will initiate on 3 May and last until 28 September 2019.
Speaking at the event, FedHATTA President Lysandros Tsilidis argued that the American Airlines route constitutes Greece an exotic destination ideally suited for year-round travel. Further, the tourism official sustained that the American Airlines flight opens up the potential of Greece to one of the most important tourist hubs in the world, the U.S. market. The Federation has established partnerships with the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and has also actively contributed to the hosting of the first ASTA Conference held in Athens in April 2018.
A recent report issued by the Bank of Greece for the touristic year 2018 showed that incoming passenger volumes from the U.S. market increased by roughly 27%. This increase is translated into the presence of approximately 1.1 million travellers arriving to Greece from the U.S. market with revenues extending €1.04 billion.