Post-lockdown flights to Greece

Post-lockdown flights to Greece

The situation is still moving fast, and some media outlets are not helping by posting speculation as fact. As of today, flights from the following countries will be allowed to operate to either Athens or (new) Thessaloniki, and passengers connect to domestic flights, ferries, or land transport, starting 15 June:
Albania, Australia, Austria, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Finland.
Nationality is irrelevant, it is departure point that matters. There will be no requirement for travellers to take a coronavirus test before leaving for Greece, or to quarantine on arrival in Greece. This list is based on the success these countries have had in minimising the rate of new infections. Additional countries may be added to the list in mid-June to take effect from July if their governments manage to get the virus situation under control by then.

Now this list is not as generous as it seems, not all these countries have ever had flights to Greece, and some still have a total international flight ban.

From 1 July flights from countries on the permitted list (including any that have been added by then) direct to airports such as Rhodes and Kos will start. But the chances of the flight programme originally announced for summer operating, even from the countries permitted, is small. Some airlines have closed down since the crisis started (for example Ryanair has just closed its subsidiary Laudamotion, based in Vienna). I’ll try and produce a new set of flight schedules as soon as things settle down – guess why I never finished this year to begin with!
Air passengers will be required to wear facemasks, and food and drink will not be served on board flights to/from Greece

Just to add a few updates – on Symi itself the bus services are back, ferry services are gradually increasing from next week (but you’ll need a face mask there too).
Two more Symi businesses that are sellng by mail order are Medusa (clothes, shoes etc) and Marcia Whitworth. You’ll need to contact them via Facebook.

The Symi Bus, May 2019

7 thoughts on “Post-lockdown flights to Greece

  1. Hi, Andy: I notice there has been no mention of Canada in the list from Greece, although the EU list shows two Canadian Provinces (Ontario and Quebec)where flights into the EU are not allowed. I’m most likely not going to even think about a trip to Greece this year, despite the fact that I live in Vancouver, but I am just wondering if you think Greece will likely follow the EU guidelines? Thanks!

    1. Technically the “EU list” you refer to isn’t an EU list at all. It is issued by EASA, the European Air Safety Agency, which also covers lots of European countries that aren’t even in the EU. Greece certainly is following the EASA list, except that it isn’t subdividing countries into safe and unsafe zones. The list separates Canadian provinces as you say, but it also separates France, Italy, the UK, Spain, Portugal etc etc where some airports are included and others are not, but Greece has excluded all of them. It has also excluded Ireland which isn’t even on the EASA list as unsafe.
      So Greece is erring on the side of caution, not the least reason being the lack of ICUs on the dozens of small islands to treat COVID victims. But they are reviewing the list of countries again mid-June and if Canada continues on its current track then they may well be included. In any case, as far as I can tell from the translations of the regulations that I have seen, there’s nothing to stop Canadians going to Greece from 15 June, they just won’t permit non-stop flights from Canada. Find another European country that does allow you in and is on Greece’s safe list, that has flights from Vancouver, and fly from there to Greece. Indeed, from 1 July, fly from the European airport to Rhodes.
      Good luck – and remember I’m not an epidemiologist or part of the Greek government!

    2. To add, I’ve since read that Greece has identified passengers starting from countries not on the safe list, but connecting though somewhere that is on the list as a loophole, and may require them to quarantine on arrival, so connecting from Canada in, say, Germany, won’t work.

  2. Hi Andy,
    I should have been in Symi since the 10th June for 3 weeks. I was flying out with tui, but, flying back with easyjet on the 1st. July. I realise flights are not allowed from UK to Greece, but, will flights be in operation from Rhodes to UK ?.
    Take care + stay safe.
    Many thanks
    Diane

    1. In theory there’s never been any government restriction on flights operating from Rhodes to the UK. Obviously no airline is going to operate planes completely empty in one direction over such a distance, so the ban on flights into Greece acted as a block on both directions. From 1 July it will become possible to run flights from the UK to Rhodes, but not from airports that are still on the EASA high COVID risk list. Of the airports that Easyjet would have expected to fly to Rhodes from, Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool are all still on the list. Bristol isn’t, and if the UK government hadn’t imposed their belated blanket quarantine on arriving passengers, Easyjet would probably have resumed flights from there on 1 July. As it is I’d expect cancellation, as hardly anyone will want to use the flight in either direction.
      But there will be updates to the EASA airport list between now and 1 July, and the UK government may realise that Greece is safer than the UK itself…

  3. Dear Andy,
    Lately you have written about flights to and from Rhodes.
    Are the news about ferries going to and from Symi from Rhodes?
    We are independant travellers to Symi and we have booked flights from Aalborg, Denmark, to Rhodes on Saturday the 12th of September and had thought that there was a connection from Rhodes to Symi on Sunday the 13th, but till now there isn’t. Can we hope that there be a connection Rhodes – Symi on Sunday later this summer or must we stay for two nights on Rhodes before going to Symi? From Symi to Rhodes on Friday the 25th there be a Blue Star ferry, but do you think that there might be a Spanos ferry on that day?
    Hope you can tell us news – hopefully good ones – about the ferries.
    All the best, Karl.Johan Noerregaard

    1. Hi
      Sorry, this isn’t something that I can give a real answer to. The shipping companies have no idea how many tourists will want to come to Greece this year under the COVID-19 conditions. So what they have done is to offer just the minimum timetable to serve the islands they call at. It is likely that if there are lots of tourists there will be more sailings – for example Spanos aren’t so far scheduling the Panagia Skiadeni at all. But nobody knows how many people will come in August and September, and how many of these will want to go to Symi. At the moment Spanos have one of the catamarans sitting in Rhodes for the day on Sundays, and for the last two weekends they’ve used it for short-notice day trips to Panormitis and Symi. If this proves popular, you might well see a Sunday service in September.
      The Friday is harder with Spanos – demand would have to be so good that they activate the Panagia Skiadeni, because both the catamarans are scheduled to operate elsewhere already.
      Another possibility is SAOS Ferries, who currently have a Friday timing from Symi to Rhodes, but don’t show a timetable past 31 August, Theirs is a subsidised service, so will likely continue into September and maybe beyond.
      Good luck, and enjoy

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