The Greek authorities have prepared an innovative travel option – charter flights “around the islands”. A pilot program that introduces domestic charter tourism, initially on three Greek islands: Astypalea, Kastelorizo and Milos.
The aim of the project is to provide the islands with additional connectivity to destinations not covered by commercial flights due to the nature of the airport.
Charter tourism includes package trips with prearranged services: transportation, accommodation, activities and meals, among others. The pilot project allows private flights to take off and land at the island’s airports outside of airport operating hours for commercial flights.
The program kicked off with the first such flights over the weekend. On Saturday July 23, two private jets flew to their final destinations – Astypalaia and Milos – as part of a pilot program for Greek regional airports after hours for commercial flights.
The municipal authorities of Milos welcome the arrival of a private charter flight on Saturday 23rd July. Source: Municipality of Milos.
The island transfer charter tourism initiative was launched in 2021 jointly by the Ministries of Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Civil Aviation Authority, and the municipalities of Astypalaia, Kastellorizo and Milos, in cooperation with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA Hellas) and the Hellenic Association pilots.
The strategic advantage of this cooperation is to expand the connection of these three islands with destinations and facilities that until now could not be supported by commercial airline flights due to the limited characteristics of their airports.
The pilot program foresees that flights to these three airports will be operated from sunrise to sunset and only outside airport hours for commercial flights, in compliance with flight safety requirements. To promote air tourism in Greece, the two ministries have set up an ad hoc inter-ministerial working group to plan and implement further joint actions.
“Measures are being taken to strengthen special forms of tourism, develop appropriate synergies and implement the necessary initiatives so that our islands become key points of attraction for inbound air tourism with the possibility of air visits (island jumps) 12 months a year,” said Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia Zaharaki.
“These three airports are the first pilot project, the development of which will eventually affect all regional airports in Greece,” added Yiannis Hifaras, Secretary General of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.