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ROUTES: Athens predicts it will exceed pre-crisis traffic levels in 2015

Athens International airport has seen double digit traffic growth so far in 2014 and sees “signs” that passenger numbers will exceed pre-2008 crisis levels for the first time next year.

Passenger traffic growth at Athens is up around a fifth over the first nine months of the year. The airport's marketing chief Ioanna Papadopoulou says while there is a question over whether the airport can sustain this level of growth, she says: “What we know from the airlines at this stage and the signs we get is that yes there is going to be an increase in 2015”.

The marketing director says Athens is benefitting from the expansion of Aegean Airlines, which has opened six new routes from the city and is now a “very strong home-based carrier” after its merger last year with Olympic Air.

The opening of a Ryanair base at the Greek capital in April has also been "important" for traffic growth and Papadopoulou says that at this stage neither Ryanair nor Aegean are “cannibalising anyone” which is helping to stimulate demand.

Papadopoulou says there are also encouraging signs that the tourism season is extending into the winter, stating: “Last winter we signs from the airlines and pre-booking from tour operators support that this will happen during this winter”.

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