Monday, 13 July 2015
Air fares to Greece slashed
Those Greek price cuts I forecast last week have begun with a vengeance with budget airline Ryanair announcing it is cutting fares to and from the country by 30%. The deals will be available for booking until Friday (July 27) for travel between now and the end of October. The move comes with Eurozone leaders agreeing a third bailout today - though it still has be agreed by the Athens parliament - and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker saying "there will not be a Grexit". If the Greek parliament accepts tough demands for reforms, including measures to streamline pennons and increase tax revenue, confidence may return to to tourism market. Bookings from the UK are currently estimated too be lagging some 25% below their level this time last summer. What remains unknown as I write is when Greek banks, which have been closed for a fortnight, will re-open. Tourists are still able to withdraw cash from ATMs, but it may take a little longer before bruised traders, such as restaurant owners, are all confident enough to accept plastic without first requesting payment in cash. Meanwhile Ryanair says it offered to drop fares to zero on its domestic routes within Greece, provided there was a reciprocal axing of developments and airport charges. But it claims the Greek Government vetoed the offer. It has, however, reduced those fares to €4.99 or the next two weeks. It should be borne in mind, of course, that we're talking fares here. Ryanair hasn't mentioned cutting the price of extras such as baggage fees.