Athens Airport Says Passenger Traffic Rose By 4.5 Percent in 2005

Passenger traffic at Athens International Airport totaled 14.3 million in 2005, a rise of 4.5 percent from 2004 - the year of the Athens Olympics - the airport said Thursday.

AIA said the key factor in overall growth was a 6.5 percent rise in passengers on flights arriving from outside Greece with more than 9 million travelers in 2005 up from 8.5 million in 2004.

Scheduled international traffic rose 6.3 percent and chartered international traffic 20 percent.

Passenger numbers from the Middle East jumped 26 percent while, for long-haul destinations, growth was strongest from the North American market - up by 9 percent.

The average load factor in 2005 was 66 percent for domestic traffic and 71 percent for international traffic, AIA said.

Greece plans to sell part of its 55 percent stake in the airport in 2006 as part of efforts to reduce the country's budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product by the end of the year.

German construction company Hochtief, which has management control, owns a 40 percent stake.

Athens Airport cost about US$2 billion to build and opened in 2001.


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