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AIA passenger total up 10% to 16.5 million February 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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Athens International Airport said yesterday the number of people using Greece’s largest airport rose 10 percent last year to a record 16.5 million as airlines added flights and more Eastern Europeans vacationed in the country.

The number of flights increased 8 percent to more than 200,000, the company said in a statement today. Fifteen new airlines began using the airport, including Air China Ltd, Continental Airlines Inc and Aer Lingus Group Plc.

The number of Eastern Europeans using the airport, which is operated by German builder Hochtief AG, rose 23 percent, as did the number of North Americans. Flights from low-cost carriers also contributed to an 18 percent increase in the tourist total to 2.3 million, the airport company said.

Athens is offering discounts to airlines to attract more customers as the Greek government prepares to sell a stake. Greece owns 55 percent of the airport, while Hochtief owns 26 percent and manages 14 percent. The pair said three years ago they’d rework the concession contract to prepare for a sale.

Ten destinations were added last year, taking the total to 116 in 50 countries. The number of international passengers to Western European locations, the airport’s biggest market, rose 7.7 percent as Aegean Airlines, the second-biggest Greek carrier, and discount airlines added routes.

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