Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer

The Greek Island of Santorini expects a bumper summer. With 2.44 million round-trip seats, it is up by…

Soaring High: Santorini Airport Expects A Bumper Summer

The Greek Island of Santorini expects a bumper summer. With 2.44 million round-trip seats, it is up by 5.6% over its previous high – the 2.31 million recorded in summer 2019 (S19). Some 16 additional airlines are to serve the island, with a good focus on the Middle East. And almost 70 routes have been added, meaning more than 10 extra countries are connected to the island.

flydubai is one of three airlines linking the UAE to Santorini. Photo: Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia.

Some 39 Greek airports are set to see scheduled service this summer. Santorini’s rise has pushed the airport into the country’s sixth-busiest spot, analyzing data provided by carriers to OAG confirms, up by two places in the past two summers. What airlines and route additions account for this?

This summer, Air France will be operating up to a once-daily service from Paris CDG to Santorini using the A320. Photo: Getty Images.

16 airlines have added service

This summer, some 16 additional airlines have added Santorini when compared with S19. These include a raft of network airlines, such as Aegean, Aer Lingus, Air France, LOT, and SWISS. In addition, there is now a range of operators from the Middle East, a region last served from Santorini in 2018. These include Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, with this one of three units in the Wizz Air Group each with a separate air operator’s certificate (AOC). 

  • Aegean
  • Aer Lingus
  • airBaltic
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • Etihad Airways
  • flydubai
  • Gulf Air
  • Jet2
  • LOT Polish
  • Lumiwings
  • Luxair
  • SWISS
  • Wizz Air Hungary
  • Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
  • Wizz Air UK
SWISS will use both the A220-100 and -300 to the Greek island. Photo: Getty Images.

A fight for the top few spots

When all three Wizz Air units are combined, the Group has nearly 280,000 Santorini seats this summer across 22 routes, up from zero in S19. This means that the Group is now the neck-and-neck with Volotea for Santorini’s third-largest airline spot. If looked at on an AOC basis, Wizz Air Hungary, overwhelmingly the largest unit, is fourth at Santorini.

Ryanair is also up greatly, having more than doubled its capacity (+108%) from growing its route map from one to 17 destinations. This has pushed it from fifth to the second-largest carrier.

Volotea is Santorini’s third-largest airline this summer. Greece is a big destination for its A320s. Photo: Volotea.

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Big growth to the Middle East

One obvious development is the big growth to Santorini from the Middle East. Now, four airlines – Etihad, flydubai, Gulf Air, and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi – are to launch service. Between them, they’ll offer more than 53,000 seats, OAG reveals, six times more than the previous level. We previously examined which destinations both flydubai and Emirates bring to that ever-closer partnership.

All but Wizz Air will operate triangularly with Athens (Etihad and Gulf Air) or Mykonos (flydubai) to help fill up their aircraft. In addition, Ryanair and Wizz Air both serve Tel Aviv with up to four-weekly services in total. Funnily enough, they both operate on the same days: Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Gulf Air will fly Bahrain-Santorini-Athens-Bahrain. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia.

68 routes added in all

68 routes have been added versus S19, with the top-10 additions, organized by seat capacity, shown below. These 68 include routes where more than one airline has launched a head-to-head competition. For example, both Ryanair and Wizz Air have added Milan Malpensa.

  1. Wizz Air: Milan Malpensa
  2. Air France: Paris CDG
  3. Ryanair: Milan Malpensa
  4. Wizz Air: Rome Fiumicino
  5. Volotea: Thessaloniki
  6. Jet2: Manchester
  7. LOT Polish: Warsaw
  8. Ryanair: Dublin
  9. Ryanair: Vienna
  10. Wizz Air: Vienna
The Wizz Air Group has 22 routes to Santorini. Photo: Getty Images.

Malpensa is now the #1 international route

Malpensa seats have more than doubled (+137%), and it is now Santorini’s number-one international destination. It has displaced Gatwick, whose seats have fallen significantly (by 60%) because of being on the UK’s amber list.

While multiple countries have risen greatly and over 10 additional nations are now served from Santorini, Italy stands out. Seat capacity from Italy now exceeds 445,000, the result of nine airlines operating non-stop service (up from five in S19) from 15 Italian airports (11). These include both Forli and Trapani with Lumiwings.

Are you planning to visit Greece this summer? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Coming Soon: Larger Aircraft Bathrooms – Better For All

Aircraft bathrooms have been shrinking. Today’s narrowbody lavatories are often as much as 10 inches narrower than they…

Coming Soon: Larger Aircraft Bathrooms – Better For All

Aircraft bathrooms have been shrinking. Today’s narrowbody lavatories are often as much as 10 inches narrower than they were 10 years ago. That’s uncomfortable for everyone, and for passengers with reduced mobility, it makes them practically unusable. So AirGo has come up with a concept that not only gives space back to the bathroom, making it fully accessible for wheelchair users but manages to do so without reducing passenger capacity.

This bathroom concept gives more space for everyone onboard. Photo: AirGo

A concept for a spacious lavatory

Passengers with reduced mobility endure a multitude of challenges when traveling by air. For example, the narrow aisle of the aircraft means personal wheelchair use is not possible, meaning passengers are forced to use airline-provided wheelchairs instead. But that’s not the only issue.

Going to the bathroom onboard can be a very difficult experience. Widebody aircraft must have accessible toilets, but narrowbodies are yet to be covered by the same rule. With aircraft like the A321LR and the 737 MAX now capable of flying for many hours, disabled passengers desperately need a better bathroom solution.

Cabin design firm AirGo has developed just such a solution. Its SPACE lavatory, a finalist in this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards, uses a triangular-shaped bathroom space, giving passengers with reduced mobility the ability to wheel into the lavatory and safely transfer themselves between the chair and the toilet.

AirGo Space accessible bathroom
The extra space makes it easy for wheelchair users to transfer themselves safely. Photo: AirGo

AirGo has designed the SPACE lavatory to be compatible with its Galaxy cabin configuration. This business class seating arrangement has been specifically designed for the single-aisle market, and would leave enough space at the end of the cabin for two spacious bathrooms to be installed.

The concept doesn’t require a reduction in seating capacity. On an A319, for example, the Space lavatory concept actually allows for four more passengers than the next nearest competitor, something that will make this attractive to both passengers and airlines.

AirGo Space accessible bathroom
When used in conjunction with the Galaxy cabin, seating capacity is actually increased. Photo: AirGo

Stay informed:  for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

The problem with aircraft lavatories

At present, only widebody planes are mandated to include accessible lavatories. However, single-aisle aircraft are not subject to the same requirements. A 2016 regulation required aircraft with more than 125 seats to have a narrow wheelchair (known as an aisle chair) and lavatories with handles and controls for the disabled. Airlines would need to comply within three years of the rules being adopted.

However, the Trump administration halted the rulemaking in January 2017. The rules should have been adopted in July 2017, but with the Trump administration busily reviewing the Obama-instigated proposals, the deadline passed, and no new deadline was set.

In 2018, disabled travelers sued the DOT to force airlines to provide accessible lavatories on single-aisle planes. Around two-thirds of disabled people said that the lack of accessible bathrooms was reason enough to avoid flying altogether. In December 2019, the DOT finally issued proposals for better access to onboard toilets.

AirGo Space accessible bathroom
This larger concept would tick all the DOT boxes. Photo: AirGo

The rulemaking applies to aircraft with 125 seats or more and requires that:

  • At least one accessible bathroom is onboard
  • Assist handles are installed
  • Call buttons and accessible door locks are installed
  • Lavatory controls and soap/water dispensers can be activated by touch

However, things are still moving slowly, and the final rule is unlikely to affect in-service aircraft. The DOT has stated throughout that it does not expect to require rebuilding of current lavatory facilities, so it’s mainly new aircraft that will eventually get the upgrade.

Bigger lavatories would be a win for passengers who do not suffer from reduced mobility also. Plane bathrooms have been shrinking for years, as airlines do everything they can to maximize their passenger-carrying capacity. In 2018, the Washington Post reported that some of the bathrooms on new narrowbody aircraft had shrunk to just 24 inches wide – 10 inches smaller than older bathrooms and one inch smaller than J-Lo’s waist.

For anyone over about five foot six, this is a problem. For a passenger with reduced mobility, it’s a nightmare. Bigger bathrooms would be better for everyone, and with innovative designs like this, airlines don’t necessarily have to sacrifice passenger capacity. Let’s hope they take up the challenge soon.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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