Greece Extends Domestic Air Travel Restrictions until 06:00 on March 22 as part of major measures to counter the rising threat of CO VID-19. All necessary trips are now allowed, including those for family duties, health care, important business, or even to return to an original permanent home. The measures, which were implemented in response to mounting concerns over the possibility that CO VID might pose threats to Greece’s economic stability, also include tougher controls over the movement of people. While previous measures restricted most types of non-essential travel, this one goes a step further by making almost all types of travel strictly dependent on a government approved carrier. The measures affect all air carriers, both domestic and foreign, and have been put in place in response to growing concerns over the potential threat posed by the irregular flight patterns of Russian aircraft, which frequently carry no identification markings and are known to be ferrying personnel and military equipment.
Domestic Air Travel Restrictions
The major parts of Greece that have been affected by the introduction of domestic air travel restrictions are Athens and Crete (on the northern Aegean Sea). Air navigation in both cities has become nearly impossible due to the reduced air traffic, and even land transportation has started to suffer. The reduction in commercial airline traffic means that Athens airports have become less crowded than previously, with both cold weather and increased demand for flights putting pressure on facilities and services. The measures were put in place so that Crete could not be effectively put to dry, reducing the threat of a large influx of visitors to the city.
All passengers bound for domestic locations must now use a self-isolate passenger locator form, where they must declare their exact destination and be subjected to security screening upon arrival. This is done as part of emergency management measures, designed to minimize the risk of an attack occurring while the facilities are closed. While this measure was put in place to prevent a possible stampede, it is in effect a safety precaution against a potential terrorist attack, as Crete is a strategic point for anyone intending to carry out an attack.
The second area that has been affected by the introduction of domestic air travel restrictions is Passos. This town lies in a strategic point on the shortest direct route between mainland Greece and the rest of Greece. It is situated along the Piraeus River and connects the mainland with the Greek islands. It had previously been one of the main crossing points for travelers going to Athens. The ferry service had previously been a viable option for travelers, but following the introduction of the domestic air travel restrictions, travelers now need to book their ferry tickets in advance online.
Passos is a bustling old town, built around an old harbour that still exists today. There is also a wall that stretches from the harbour to the village. This wall was constructed during the Myriades earthquake, which devastated the region. Since then, the area has developed into a busy tourist destination for locals and foreigners alike. The majority of travellers entering the island are required to undergo a security check, and security checks are especially high following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. This has been seen in recent years, when many airlines have introduced additional security measures at airports across Europe following the heightened terror alert.
Another significant security measure has been introduced in relation to crossing from Greek Islands. Prior to the turn of the millennium, there were no land bridges available for crossing between the Aegean and the Peloponnesian Peninsula. Therefore, all sea traffic through the region was subject to the border control. The most commonly used method of crossing between the two regions was via the Kerkyra Islands, but in 2021, the mainland was added to the list.
Travelers must still be bound by the domestic air travel restrictions that are in effect. It is advised that travelling from the UK to any destination outside of London should involve either a direct flight or an alternative solution such as a train. Travelling by road is still not advisable for international travel due to security issues. Airlines will also require passengers to provide identification at check in, and all bags must be properly checked before boarding.
Travelling by air can still be an enjoyable experience, as long as precautions are taken. There are several cheap flights available from UK airports, and air travellers can benefit from booking well in advance. It is still possible to travel inexpensively to the UK, even during the festive season. Check with your airline about the various seasonal discounts available, and take advantage of them if available.