Fraport Greece sees double-digit percentage rise in 2018 passenger traffic

ATHENS (Reuters) - Fraport Greece FRAG.DE expects a double-digit percentage rise in passenger traffic through 14 Greek airports this year, its chief executive said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A plane is parked at the airport included in a big privatisation deal between Greece and German airport operator Fraport, Thessaloniki, Greece December 14, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis

Fraport Greece, a consortium of Germany’s Fraport and Greek group Copelouzos, has operated 14 Greek airports including at popular tourist destinations Santorini and Rhodes since April last year.

All 14 airports handled 27.6 million passengers last year, a 10.3 percent annual increase. Traffic rose by 11 percent to 6.25 million in the January-to-May period.

Chief Executive Officer Alexander Zinell said this year’s rise was expected to be similar to last year’s.

“We expect something, if we’re lucky, of two-digit (percentage rise),” he told reporters.

Several carriers, including British Airways ICAG.L and Germania, launched new routes to the airports operated by Fraport ahead of the summer season.

Zinell said Fraport was looking to attract more traffic over the winter, mainly for its most popular airports.

Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Chania are the busiest airports, according to a presentation by Fraport Greece.

After paying an upfront fee of 1.2 billion euros (1.06 billion pounds) to secure a 40-year lease of the airports last year, Fraport has embarked on a 415 million euro spending plan to upgrade and expand airport facilities by 2021.

Tourism, one of Greece’s main growth drivers, is booming with a record 32 million tourists seen pouring in this year.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Adrian Croft