Fra­port gears up for busier air­ports

Kathimerini English - - Focus - ILIAS BELLOS

Fra­port Greece, the lo­cal sub­sidiary of the Ger­man trans­port firm that is due to take over the man­age­ment of 14 re­gional air­ports from the start of next year, is in ad­vanced talks with for­eign air­line com­pa­nies and tour op­er­a­tors in a bid to en­sure that there will be an in­crease in pas­sen­ger traf­fic from next year.

Sources in the in­ter­na­tional trans­port in­dus­try said that Fra­port Greece was one of the most ac­tive com­pa­nies at the 139th IATA Slot Con­fer­ence, which was held in At­lanta, USA.

The gath­er­ing is held twice a year and its lat­est edi­tion fin­ished just a few days ago. It brings to­gether all the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of air­ports, air­lines and national air­traf­fic agen­cies in or­der for them to ne­go­ti­ate what slots the air­lines will get at the air­ports they fly to and from. The re­cent con­fer­ence cov­ered the al­lo­ca­tion of slots for next sum­mer.

There are air­lines that are will­ing to in­vest in Greece so they can profit from the in­crease in the flow of tourists to the coun­try. This is un­der­lined by the fact that a large num­ber of air­lines are pre­par­ing to in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly the num­ber of flights to the 14 re­gional air­ports that will be man­aged by Fra­port Greece.

The first ap­pear­ance by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Fra­port Greece at the IATA con­fer­ence drew a high level of at­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to sources who took part in the event. Plans to over­haul the 14 air­ports, the steady im­prove­ment of the ser­vices avail­able to pas­sen­gers and the abil­ity to sup­port traf­fic to spe­cific des­ti­na­tions through a se­ries of ac­tions were the sub­ject of ex­ten­sive pre­sen­ta­tions to dozens of air­lines and tour op­er­a­tors.

The re­sults of these ex­changes in At­lanta are due to be­come vis­i­ble in the near fu­ture as the air­lines are set to an­nounce their plans for the des­ti­na­tions they will fly to next sea­son. A num­ber of for­eign air­lines have shown a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in Thes­sa­loniki as a des­ti­na­tion.

Fra­port Greece’s big­gest chal­lenge is not just to in­crease pas­sen­ger num­bers but also to ex­tend the tourism sea­son. The lat­ter will not be down just to the com­pany’s ac­tions or in­vest­ment ef­forts.

Greece’s plans for the up­grad­ing of the 14 re­gional air­ports, the grad­ual im­prove­ment of ser­vices of­fered to pas­sen­gers and the sup­port of var­i­ous des­ti­na­tions through tar­geted ini­tia­tives were the main points of the con­sor­tium’s pre­sen­ta­tions to air car­ri­ers and tour op­er­a­tors in At­lanta.

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