Tuesday, July 16 2024

Celebrating Easter as ‘normal’ after two years

Celebrating Easter as ‘normal’ after two years

After two years of confinement and social restrictions, many Greeks this year will be able to spend Easter in villages or on the islands.

Traffic congestion at Athens’ exit points has been steadily growing since Wednesday as the wave of vacationers left the city, while ships, planes and intercity KTEL buses were also at full capacity. This was the case in particular at Athens’ Kifissos and Liossia KTEL stations, where capacity reached 100% on Thursday and is expected to remain at the same levels until Saturday.

According to the president of the Panhellenic Federation of KTEL Drivers, Sophocles Fatsios, compared to pre-coronavirus levels, passenger traffic has shown an increase of 30% to 35% at those two KTEL stations. What’s more, several routes, such as those heading from Athens to the regional units in the Peloponnese in southern Greece and Epirus in the northwest, showed an increase of up to 50% compared to 2019.

Intense traffic was also observed to the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Thessaly in Central Greece, and Thessaloniki in the north. The TrainOSE trains on the Athens-Thessaloniki routes were also close to 100% capacity. In order to facilitate the increased demand, there were plans to add an additional wagon to intercity trains from Thursday to Saturday.

There was also significant traffic observed at airports across the country, with Aegean Airlines reporting that occupancy reached 100% on Thursday, with the same expected on Friday. Indicatively, on Monday, 11,200 passengers departed from Greece compared to 3,200 last year, while on Tuesday the number rose to 13,000, compared to 3,000 last year.

The preferred destinations were Cyprus, England, France and Germany, with flights departing at 85% capacity. However, available seats are 20% fewer than they were at Easter 2019. Nonetheless, passenger volume was at similar levels to summer 2019. Athens International Airport will see 130 planes arriving and 136 departing on Friday.

On Saturday, 120 arrivals and 122 departures are scheduled, while on Sunday 112 departures and 108 arrivals are expected. On Easter Monday there will be 107 arrivals and 110 departures. The greatest traffic is expected on Tuesday, when 140 flights are scheduled to arrive and 131 to depart. Traffic on highways has increased by about 9% compared to 2019. However, the increase in fuel prices has impacted the use of cars.