Low cost airline Ryanair promised to bring 10 million tourists to Greece within the next three years, should Athens airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” reduce taxes and fees. The intentions and promises were table on Tuesday by deputy CEO and director of Ryanair business operation manager Michael Cawley during a press conference.
Ryanair asked Elfetherios Venizelos to decrease the tax from current 12 euro per passenger down to 5 euro and bring it down to zero in other, peripheral airports.
Cawley described the tax policy of Athens International Airport as the “biggest problem for the tourism growth in the Greek capital, as it remains “very expensive and uncompetitive with other European countries.” He also expressed fears that the upcoming privatizations in regional airports in Greece would lead to charge increases and make them uncompetitive too.
Ryanair’s promise is to bring four million tourists in Athens, two million in Thessaloniki and four million in the rest of Greece within the next three years. The low cost airline calculated that these 10 million tourists would translate into 4.5 billion revenues for the Greek tourism sector and 10,000 new jobs.
In a calculation made by the deputy chief executive of Ryanair, these arrivals translated into a tourist currency EUR 4.5 billion and 10,000 new jobs.
Michael Cawley noted that Ryanair will present this plan to Greek development minister.
AIA rejects Ryanair proposal
The answer from Athens International Airport came indeed very quickly. In a short statement it rejected the Ryanair proposals for tax and fee decrease saying:
“AIA has chosen to actively support the airlines investing in ongoing, long-term presence, aiming at development.
This business plan is not conform with the practices of Ryanair, that follows a policy of growth through regional airports, where it does not invest in long-terms. This practice, particularly in smaller markets, like the Greek one, leads to “cannibalization” of existing drive with direct negative effects on existing companies, which have invested in permanent presence.
Athens airport operates on a particular business model, like all international metropolitan airports, based on developing and maintaining long term relationships with carriers,” the statement said.