A historic, all-time record was achieved in 2018 regarding the passenger traffic in Athens International Airport, "Eleftherios Venizelos". According to the first available data, published by the management company, a total of 24,135,736 passengers were transported in the Greek capital's airport last year, breaking the 24m passenger barrier for the first time and crashing the previous year's record of 21.73m.
This impressive record, statistically, resulted from an overall increase of 11%, mainly due to foreign passengers reaching 16.405.197, up 13.8% and secondly to domestic passengers reaching 7.730 .539, increased by 5.6%.
The numbers have been really impressive throughout the year. With regard to foreign passengers, there were 6 months with traffic of over 2m passengers (compared to 5 months in 2017), while during the other 6, traffic varied from 1.1 to 1.44m passengers. The month with the biggest traffic was August with 2.88m passengers while February was the weakest with 1.11m passengers. The biggest increase was in May with 15.3%. In total, 2m foreign passengers more used "El. Venizelos" in 2018 compared to 2017.
Increase in foreign passengers traffic, ranged in double digits except for December (8.7%). Top month was March with 18.2% and then May with 18.1%. The month with the biggest traffic in this category was, as expected, August with 1.72m passengers while the weakest one was February with 792k. Only 2 months ranged below 1m passengers (January and February).
Correspondingly, fluctuations were recorded in domestic passengers traffic. The first 3 months of the year, started with a decline (February recorded -9.1%), while the rest moved upwards with the exception of October (-1.7%). Top month was August with 12.2% and then May and December with 9.9%. In absolute figures, August ended with 925k passengers while the weakest one, February with 400k. Only 2 months recorded traffic of more than 900k passengers (July and August).
Athens International Airport before the announcement of its infrastructure expansion project and the pending concession's extension contract
As the records break one after another, the 20-year contract has not yet been signed. Although the review has been successfully completed by all parties involved, the contract awaits to be ratified by the Greek Parliament.
However, market sources note that as long as the contract is still pending, it will be very difficult for the large expansion projects of the airport's infrastructure, to be announced. With the signing of the contract, the management company will then have a 25 years to implement its major expected investments, including a new Terminal (or a large expansion of the existing one) and additional investments that are rumored to exceed, during their first phase, 300m euros.
It is noted that, according to the IATA's requirements, when airports reach 90% of their total capacity, then their expansion plan has to be announced and start. In the case of AIA, this threshold was passed in December, as the maximum traffic of the airport is 26m passengers (in this case, 90% is 23.6m passengers and 2018's overall traffic was 24.1m). These are truly great news that bring optimism to an airport that has almost doubled its traffic in the period 2013-2018 (from 12.5 to 24.1 million passengers).