New routes could mean the airport is due for an upgrade
Late last month, Ryanair announced that it would be opening bases 23 and 24 at Athens and Thessaloniki, threatening Aegean’s monopolies of the markets there. Ryanair is also set to increase the number of domestic flights in and around Greece, adding eight new routes and a 36 times weekly Athens-Thessaloniki service. This is bad news for Aegean, who had previously explained that their losses were due to decreasing domestic demand; competition for domestic passengers can only mean harder times for the airline.
(Thessaloniki Macedonia Airport seat capacity: 20-Jan-2014 to 26-Jan-2014)
But for passengers traveling to and from Macedonia International Airport (SKG), Ryanair’s expansion could only mean great things. With Ryanair predicting a 50% increase in traffic from Athens and Thessaloniki by April of 2014, upgrades and renovations shouldn’t be far for SKG. As Parking4less reports, increased competition between regional airports and the growth of international airports are pushing even flagships airports like London’s Heathrow to begin expanding the services they provide to their passengers.
Ryanair’s expansion into Thessaloniki could be the catalyst for the airport’s much-awaited renovations. In the summertime, passengers of SKG have reported long queues and cramped hallways, and the addition of three new routes from SKG should force the airport’s administrators to look into expansions. The Centre for Aviation reports, “At Thessaloniki, Aegean has almost 64% of seats, with Ryanair the second largest carrier on 17%. Ryanair’s three new routes, which include the 36 times weekly (in either direction) route to Athens, will add around 15,000 weekly seats.”
The new bases are set to open in April 2014. SKG has until then to prepare for the onslaught of travellers using Ryanair’s cheaper flights to get into leisure-friendly Greece.