The challenges of operating to Greece during the summer look to be far worse than normal this year.
Fraport are not off to a good start with non-scheduled flights and business aviation. On April 11th this year, they took over control of 14 international airports from the state: Aktion, Chania, Corfu, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Lesvos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki and Zakynthos.
Initial reports on the Fraport change from OPSGROUP members are not positive:
“During the last few weeks, it has become clear that operations to these airports (including all popular Islands – Kos, Rhodes, Mykonos etc) is a nightmare. Very few slots are made available to non-scheduled ops, overnight parking is scarce, even quick turn arounds are extremely difficult in some cases. As a pilot flying in this area in the last 20 years, I have never seen such difficulty in operating.”
Previously, LGMK/Mykonos was usually the only airport in the last 3 years to have parking problems. The parking Notams were limiting stays to 2-3 hours from June till September. Now, the max parking time there is 1 hour, PPR was introduced last year but we managed to have them “flexible” with the right handler. Now, with Fraport, no flexibility allowed.
When we tried to fly to LGKO/Kos this weekend, we are forced to leave the ramp on Saturday at 8am local. Rhodes denied parking for 3 nights, which has never happened before…”
Last year, the capacity challenge at Greek Islands was most acute on weekends, with healthy slot delays if operating to LGIR/Iraklion, LGKP/Karpathos, LGMK/Mikonos, LGZA/Zakinthos, LGSR/Santorini, LGSK/Skiathos, or LGSA/Chania. Coupled with the Fraport changes, be prepared for difficulty in operating to Greece this summer.
The only answer is to plan as far ahead in advance as possible. We’d love to hear your reports from Greece – in Aireport if you are an OpsGroup member, or comment below if you’re not.