Even more ferries

Even more ferries

May looks like being a good month for ferries. Hot on the heels of the 4th weekly Blue Star announcement for the month of May comes the first few days of ANES Ferries “Sebeco” for the season. There had been doubt about whether Sebeco would operate Rhodes-Symi this summer, but here she is, with times released up to 8th May.
Now, ANES, tell us what you’re doing for the rest of May and indeed the rest of summer, as soon as you can. Because Symi is an island that really requires advance booking by tourists, they want to know when they can get there, especially since last year (and this year judging by the times released so far) Sebeco had/will have the much requested morning sailings from Symi and afternoon sailings from Rhodes on most days – and a mooring point in Symi right by the bus station.

Here’s the combined ferry timetable for May – note that Sebeco times only run till the 8th of May, hopefully later dates will follow soon.

Slightly more ferries

Slightly more ferries

Blue Star have announced an additional service during May, providing a Symi-Rhodes 07:40 morning and Rhodes-Symi afternoon 17:00 sailing on Sundays during May. These are extra calls on the fast Saturday evening departure from Piraeus to Kos and Rhodes only, and the Sunday evening Rhodes-Kos-Piraeus service. Passengers can of course use them to get to/from Kos or Piraeus as well as Rhodes.
Will this continue after the end of May? It isn’t clear at all, some cynics on Symi are connecting the extra sailing with the timing of the municipal, European and (maybe) Greek national elections. Others say that the Ministry of Marine and Aegean Affairs civil servants are unwilling to authorise extra sailings in June and later when the Minister and Deputy Ministers are highly likely to change either as a result of elections or a pre-election reshuffle. There’s no meeting of the Coastal Shipping Council scheduled (which would provide cover for the civil servants if it happened).

There are several Scandanavian countries which send a high volume of flights into Rhodes on Sundays in summer and this may be useful for tourism if it does continue. Most shops in Rhodes are open on Sundays in summer so shopping trips for Symi residents would also be possible, though the sailings don’t help with medical appointments and meetings with lawyers, accountants, tax offices etc.

May 2019

Getting to Symi 2019 – Italy

Getting to Symi 2019 – Italy

Here are the flight tables for summer service from Italy to Rhodes and Kos. Note that Milan Linate airport closes for maintenance from late July for the rest of the summer, and Alitalia flights to Rhodes switch departure point to Malpensa as a result. I’d like to acknowledge the website Rhodes Airport Aviation News which enabled me to make sense of Alitalia’s timetable – certainly Alitalia’s website doesn’t.

Flights from Italy

Flights from Scandanavia and Finland

Flights from Netherlands

Flights from Austria

Flights from Switzerland

Flights from France

Flights from Germany

Flights from the UK

Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg

Getting to Symi 2019 – Scandanavia and Finland

Getting to Symi 2019 – Scandanavia and Finland

Here are the flights tables for services from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway to Rhodes and Kos for this summer. The Thomas Cook and TUI flights are all charters, only one, two or three week bookings, and no one-way tickets. Why, I don’t know. There are no legal restrictions, the whole route is within the European Common Aviation Area. The two groups of companies have subsidiaries in other European countries that sell seats for longer periods or just one-way, so they already own the software to handle it.
Some holes in the service from Denmark after the collapse of Primera last year.

Flights from Scandanavia and Finland

Flights from Netherlands

Flights from Austria

Flights from Switzerland

Flights from France

Flights from Germany

Flights from the UK

Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg

Getting to Symi 2019 – Netherlands

Getting to Symi 2019 – Netherlands

After some delay, here’s the 2019 flight schedule from the Netherlands to Rhodes and Kos. Both Corendon and TUI Netherlands were expecting deliveries of Boeing 737MAX planes in time to help in high season, that seems less likely now, so alterations are to be expected.

Flights from Netherlands

Flights from Austria

Flights from Switzerland

Flights from France

Flights from Germany

Flights from the UK

Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg

More flight schedules to follow later in the week.

Is my flight on a MAX?

Is my flight on a MAX?

Following the two catastrophic and so far unexplained plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that involved brand new Boeing 737 MAX8 aircraft, some people have told me they are concerned that they may be booked to fly on one on their next trip to Rhodes or Kos.

At the time of writing, the following airlines that have flights to Rhodes and Kos in summer 2019 have already taken delivery of MAX8 or the similar but slightly longer MAX9:

Smartwings

Norwegian (but they have voluntarily withdrawn the fleet from service and will use the older and well-proved Boeing 737-800 instead)

Enter Air (planes grounded by Polish national aviation authority decision)

TUI Group (Belgium, Netherlands, Nordic) (TUI UK will not be able to use theirs as the UK has banned MAX8/9 from UK airspace)UPDATE – TUI group has voluntarily grounded all MAX planes.

S7

Corendon (their one plane is not in passenger service yet).

 

Now all these airlines also have other versions of the Boeing 737 that have a long and safe history, so it isn’t always clear which version they intend to use. The pressure of public and professional opinion seems to be increasing on airlines and national aviation authorities to remove the MAX8 and MAX9 from service until it becomes clear what caused the two crashes, and effective action is taken to resolve any design or training issues involved.

Already the planes are banned in Australia, and a combination of voluntary grounding and national aviation authority action has effectively removed them from South American, Asian and African skies. The UK banned them from its airports and airspace about an hour ago, and now Germany (plus France, Belgium, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands and Ireland) has followed suit. This effectively means that the plane can only reach the Dodecanese from East/Central Europe or the Middle East, and it is strongly rumoured that the whole of Europe will ban MAX planes in a few hours time

Situation is now simple. The 737MAX is now banned from all European airspace, so cannot be used on flights to Greece from anywhere.

 

Getting to Symi – summer ferries

Getting to Symi – summer ferries

Travellers to Symi normally arrive by ferry (unless you’re well heeled enough to afford a yacht or a helicopter). Here is a first attempt at the summer combined ferry timetable. At this stage we don’t know if ANES will operate any kind of ferry service to Symi in 2019 or not, so for the benefit of those wanting to book accommodation I’ve based the timetable just on those published by Blue Star Ferries and Dodekanisos Seaways. The published timetables are confusing for October and I expect corrections to be made, so there’s no point in adding to the confusion yet.

May 2019

June to September 2019

Getting to Symi 2019 – Switzerland

Getting to Symi 2019 – Switzerland

Here’s the flight schedule from Switzerland to Rhodes and Kos for summer 2019. It’s important to note that while the German arm of Germania has gone bankrupt, the Swiss arm (Germania Flug) has not and is still trading, so their flights for summer from Zurich are included here.

Flights from Switzerland

Flights from France

Flights from Germany

Flights from the UK

Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg