Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer

The Greek Island of Santorini expects a bumper summer. With 2.44 million round-trip seats, it is up by 5.6% over its previous high – the 2.31 million recorded in summer 2019 (S19). Some 16 additional airlines are to serve the island, with a good focus on the Middle East. And almost 70 routes have been added, meaning more than 10 extra countries are connected to the island.

Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer
flydubai is one of three airlines linking the UAE to Santorini. Photo: Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia.

Some 39 Greek airports are set to see scheduled service this summer. Santorini’s rise has pushed the airport into the country’s sixth-busiest spot, analyzing data provided by carriers to OAG confirms, up by two places in the past two summers. What airlines and route additions account for this?

Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer
This summer, Air France will be operating up to a once-daily service from Paris CDG to Santorini using the A320. Photo: Getty Images.

16 airlines have added service

This summer, some 16 additional airlines have added Santorini when compared with S19. These include a raft of network airlines, such as Aegean, Aer Lingus, Air France, LOT, and SWISS. In addition, there is now a range of operators from the Middle East, a region last served from Santorini in 2018. These include Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, with this one of three units in the Wizz Air Group each with a separate air operator’s certificate (AOC). 

  • Aegean
  • Aer Lingus
  • airBaltic
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • Etihad Airways
  • flydubai
  • Gulf Air
  • Jet2
  • LOT Polish
  • Lumiwings
  • Luxair
  • Wizz Air Hungary
  • Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
  • Wizz Air UK
Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer
SWISS will use both the A220-100 and -300 to the Greek island. Photo: Getty Images.

A fight for the top few spots

When all three Wizz Air units are combined, the Group has nearly 280,000 Santorini seats this summer across 22 routes, up from zero in S19. This means that the Group is now the neck-and-neck with Volotea for Santorini’s third-largest airline spot. If looked at on an AOC basis, Wizz Air Hungary, overwhelmingly the largest unit, is fourth at Santorini.

Ryanair is also up greatly, having more than doubled its capacity (+108%) from growing its route map from one to 17 destinations. This has pushed it from fifth to the second-largest carrier.

Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer
Volotea is Santorini’s third-largest airline this summer. Greece is a big destination for its A320s. Photo: Volotea.

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Big growth to the Middle East

One obvious development is the big growth to Santorini from the Middle East. Now, four airlines – Etihad, flydubai, Gulf Air, and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi – are to launch service. Between them, they’ll offer more than 53,000 seats, OAG reveals, six times more than the previous level. We previously examined which destinations both flydubai and Emirates bring to that ever-closer partnership.

All but Wizz Air will operate triangularly with Athens (Etihad and Gulf Air) or Mykonos (flydubai) to help fill up their aircraft. In addition, Ryanair and Wizz Air both serve Tel Aviv with up to four-weekly services in total. Funnily enough, they both operate on the same days: Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer
Gulf Air will fly Bahrain-Santorini-Athens-Bahrain. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia.

68 routes added in all

68 routes have been added versus S19, with the top-10 additions, organized by seat capacity, shown below. These 68 include routes where more than one airline has launched a head-to-head competition. For example, both Ryanair and Wizz Air have added Milan Malpensa.

  1. Wizz Air: Milan Malpensa
  2. Air France: Paris CDG
  3. Ryanair: Milan Malpensa
  4. Wizz Air: Rome Fiumicino
  5. Volotea: Thessaloniki
  6. Jet2: Manchester
  7. LOT Polish: Warsaw
  8. Ryanair: Dublin
  9. Ryanair: Vienna
  10. Wizz Air: Vienna
Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer
The Wizz Air Group has 22 routes to Santorini. Photo: Getty Images.

Malpensa is now the #1 international route

Malpensa seats have more than doubled (+137%), and it is now Santorini’s number-one international destination. It has displaced Gatwick, whose seats have fallen significantly (by 60%) because of being on the UK’s amber list.

While multiple countries have risen greatly and over 10 additional nations are now served from Santorini, Italy stands out. Seat capacity from Italy now exceeds 445,000, the result of nine airlines operating non-stop service (up from five in S19) from 15 Italian airports (11). These include both Forli and Trapani with Lumiwings.

Are you planning to visit Greece this summer? Let us know in the comments.