Route Exchange, the air route development platform, says that the unserved Athens-Chicago route has great potential.
According to Routes online, after March 2017 when Emirates launched a new daily service from Dubai to Newark Liberty International Airport via Athens Airport, Greece’s capital has four direct routes to the U.S. – John F. Kennedy (Delta – seasonal), Newark (United – seasonal, Emirates – year-round) and Philadelphia (American Airlines – seasonal). However, it is a market that still appears underserved.
Specifically, the volume of passengers travelling direct from Athens to the United States has increased from 128,000 in 2013 to an estimated 397,000 in 2017, with this year’s figure being 37.2 percent higher than 2016.
Meanwhile, from January to December 2016, more than 620,000 passengers travelled indirectly from/to Athens to/from any U.S. destination. Chicago and Boston had the highest volume of indirect traffic demand after New York (over 131.000 passengers during 2016). Aggregate growth between 2013-16 for Chicago was at +46.5 percent (with 65,000 passengers during 2016).
In the first 10 months of 2017, more than 571,000 foreign passengers arrived in Athens from the U.S., an 8 percent increase on the same period in 2016.
According to Athens International Airport figures, its services to the U.S. are among the best performing routes in terms of load factor.
However, lack of additional capacity in existing destinations and lack of new services to other destinations is restricting the growth of the Athens-U.S. market.
Route Exchange explains that the reason Chicago has a great potential as a U.S. destination from Athens is that in 2012 there were 1.3 million U.S. inhabitants of Greek ancestry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
At the same time, traffic to and from Athens International Airport, has increased, exceeding 20 million passengers in 2016, and showing an 8.8 percent increase in the first 10 months of 2017; estimated to exceed 21.5 million by the end of the year.