greece travel guide

Information about the airports of Greece

The classification of airports in Greece is established by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority [1], the Greek national authority for civil aviation.

The authority for civil aviation has published the definitions for the classification of national airports and the procedures for defining international airports classified according to the regulations in force:

International: airports equipped with permanent customs facilities suitable for carrying out international traffic;
1: Domestic: airports used for domestic flights;
2: Municipal: local airports capable of accommodating small aircraft.

As of November 2013, Greece hosts 44 airports, of which 15 classified as international, 25 as national and 4 as municipal. To these must be added 5 airports defined as permanent closed.

Aviation plays a very important role in the national economy of Greece. Worldwide, 99% of long-distance passenger traffic is made by air transport. Apart from this, however, there is also the logic of the economy. Where there is an airport, where there is a fast connection, especially in a country like Greece, then there is also economic development. Greece has 34 island international airports,that is to understand how important air transport is in a country like Greece where there is no good road network

Greece is a popular tourist destination due to its magnificent beaches, entertainment, climate, food and archaeological sites. There are about 40 international and domestic airports. The two main airports of mainland Greece are Athens airport and Thessaloniki airport, where it is often possible to make a stopover before reaching your final destination which could be one of the wonderful islands of the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, the Ionian and the north Aegean islands or Crete.

From Athens airport you can reach your holiday destinations with a flight lasting from 40 minutes to one hour. The airports are located on numerous islands and different provinces and are busy especially in the summer when numerous charter and national flights are available to tourists.

Brief History of Civil Aviation in Greece

The beginning of civil aviation in Greece took place in 1925, when the dictator Theodoros Pangalos granted the Ikaros company an air transport license. From the ashes of Ikaros, the state company was created in 1931 during the Eleftherios Venizelos period under the name Hellenic Airline Company.

Due to discounts on many passenger categories, the company had major financial problems. In 1935, TAE (Technical and Aeronautical Operations) was founded by Stefanos Zotos. After the war, after the entire fleet of the company was destroyed, Stefanos Zotos, bought airplanes again and restarted its operation in 1946. Within one year of three, it reached 10 airplanes due to the great demand and economic efficiency.

In 1947, the state granted operating licenses to three more companies. Hellas, Daedalus, Air Transport of Greece. In 1951 they all merged together, under the umbrella of TAE. In 1955 with a debt of 110 million drachmas to the public alone, the company went into liquidation and later auctioned.

A buyer was not found and the company went public. In 1956 Aristotelis Onassis and Stavros Niarchos were among the big capitalists who submitted takeover proposals and finally Onassis won the exploitation of the national airlines for 20 years. Immediately the brand and name of the company was changed to have an international appeal and thus Olympiac air was created.

In 1956, Onassis created a company that became world famous. It was initially manned with pilots exclusively from the Greek air forces. Unfortunately Olympic Airlines, the national carrier of Greece for more than half a century (1957-2009), followed a path of international acclaim in the first years of its operation under Onassis. Its gradual decline, especially from 1975, when it was nationalized, led to its decline and finally its closure.

Privatization of Greek Airlines

In 1992, Aegean Aviation as it was called back then, became the first private airline to obtain an air transport license.
In a constantly changing environment, Aegean Aviation offered VIP and air transportation services until 1991. On February 17 of that year, it obtained an air carrier certificate and was indeed the first private company in Greece to obtain such a license.

Until then, although there were various corresponding small private companies in the field, only Olympic Airlines had air carrier certification in Greece. In 1994, Aegean Aviation was acquired by the Vasilakis group of companies. Until then the company had a Learjet and used it to make all its flights. With the new management, the company invested in privately owned Learjets and in 1999 it became Aegean Airlines.

The company preferred to start its passenger routes with new aircraft of its own, instead of resorting to the leasing solution, which would follow another company in its place to control its costs, especially in the first period of its operation. In the same year added more destinations, Chania and Rhodes, Alexandroupolis and Corfu to its schedules. It then embarked on massive acquisitions, which secured a large fleet of new airplanes, crews and route licences.

Privatization of the Greek airports

In April 2017, the Fraport Greece company bought 14 regional Greek airports for 1.234 billion euros, the largest concession price in the history of the country. The overall financial agreement, for the 40-year concession, provides for an additional 22.9 million annual guaranteed rent payable, adjusted annually with inflation, as well as a variable variable fee calculated annually at 28.6% of operating profits. The first flight under the new operating regime of the airports was the one that landed the same month in Santorini, coming from “Eleftherios Venizelos”.

Regional airports include three gateways in the main country (Thessaloniki, Aktion, Kavala) and 11 airports in the islands (Corfu, Chania, Kefalonia, Kos, Mykonos, Mytilini, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos and Zakynthos).

Passenger traffic statistics 2018-2019

The largest market for the Greek regional airports in 2018 was the UK with 3.2 million passengers showing an increase of +112

thousand/+3.6%. The United Kingdom rose to the top ranking in 2019, while Germany fell to second place with 3.1 million.

passengers which recorded a slight decrease of -21 thousand/-0.7%.

Italy maintained third place with 1.0 million passengers showing an increase of +37 thousand +3.8%. The Netherlands rose to fourth place with 842 thousand passengers (+18 thousand/+2.2%) and in fifth place France with 773 thousand passengers (+45 thousand/+6.2%). 

The first two countries account for 42% of passengers at regional airports in 2019, while the following three account for 17%.

Poland fell to sixth place in 2019 from fourth place in 2018, with 768 thousand passengers after registering a decrease of -133 thousand/-14.8%.

Russia with 640 passengers remained stable in the ranking table even though it registered a decrease of -61 thousand/-8.8%.

Sweden remained in eighth place with 550 thousand passengers registering a decrease of -37 thousand/-6.3%. Israel remained in ninth place with 453 thousand passengers (+32 thousand/+7.7%), while Austria climbed to tenth with 445 thousand passengers after presenting an increase of +92 thousand/+26.1%. Austria in 2018 was ranked 14th. 

Arrivals from the first countries account for 78% of arrivals recorded at regional airports in 2019.

Denmark fell one place in the ranking table and was in eleventh place with 395 thousand passengers (-17 thousand/-4.2%). By one position the Czech Republic declined with 395 thousand (+11 thousand/+2.9%), Belgium 381 thousand (-0.1%) and Norway with 346 thousand passengers (-7 thousand/-2.1 %). THE

Switzerland remained in the last place of the top-15 registering an increase (+9 thousand/+2.9%) reaching 329 thousand passengers. The top-15 countries account for 90% of passengers registered at regional airports for 2019.

International arrivals from the top-15 cities

The top four cities remained unchanged in 2019 compared to 2018. In particular, in terms of the number of passengers, in first place is London with 1.5 million passengers showing an increase of +75 thousand/+5.4%, in second place is Amsterdam with 630 thousand passengers showing a decrease of -17 thousand/-2.6% and in third place Manchester with 606 thousand passengers and a decrease of -14 thousand/-2.3%. In fourth place was maintained by Munich with 511 thousand passengers showing a marginal increase of +2 thousand/+0.3%. In the fifth place rose the Dusseldorf with 506 thousand passengers and an increase of +35 thousand/+7.3%. The first five cities account for 25% of passengers in Greek regional airports in 2019.

In sixth place (from fifth in 2018), was Moscow.  The connection with Moscow recorded a decrease of -16 thousand/-3.3% while recorded 457 thousand passengers. Tel-Aviv remained in seventh place with 453 thousand passengers recording an increase of +32 thousand/+7.7% and in eighth position was maintained by Frankfurt with 445 thousand passengers showing an increase of +59 thousand/+15.4%. 394 thousand were recorded from Paris. rease of +26 thousand/+7.2%.

 Vienna rose to tenth place in 2019 from 15th in 2018 in the ranking table, as a result of the large increase recorded by +95 thousand/+37.9%.  

Stuttgart gained one place in the ranking table and was in eleventh place with 307 thousand passengers (+3 thousand/+1.1%).

Prague with 305 thousand passengers it rose to twelfth place in 2019 in the ranking table, from 13th in 2018 recording an increase of +15 thousand/+5.2%. Stockholm and Berlin fell by three places, registering a decrease.

In particular, they were recorded by Stockholm 292 thousand passengers (-33 thousand/-10.1%) and from Berlin 286 thousand passengers (-26 thousand/-8.4%). In the last place was Birmingham with 270 thousand passengers recording an increase of +14 thousand/5.3%. International arrivals from the top-15 cities account for 48% of the total at regional airports for 2019.

Airports in Mainland Greece


Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” ATH serves Athens Greece and the rest of the country. It began operations in 2001 and replaced Hellinikon International Airport, which served Athens for 60 years.
It was named in honor of the Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos, who as Prime Minister of Greece who established the Ministry of Aviation and made systematic efforts to organize Civil Aviation.
At the airport, several airlines have their base, among them, Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, Ryanair and others.


The International Airport of Thessaloniki “Macedonia” SKG is located 15 km southeast of the city of Thessaloniki, in the Municipality of Thermi and in 2008 it was the third busiest airport in Greece. It used to be called Mikras Airport, but was renamed in 1992 after the historical geographical region of Macedonia. In 1950 the already existing  runway was asphalted to a length of 1,800 m and in 1952 it was extended to a length of 2,000 m. In the same year the construction of the first air station was completed, with the control tower on the roof.

Airport of Action Preveza

The national Airport Action is located in the region of Aetoloakarnania prefecture and belongs in the Municipality Anaktoriou. It abstains from the city of Vonitsa 13 km, 4 km from Preveza and 20 km from the downtown of Lefkas.
It functioned for first time as Political Airport in 1968. In 1988 were transported in new installations of extent 970 m2. In 1955 were recognized as international. In the 4/4/03 became the openings of new modern installations of area 7500 m2.


The Airport of Alexandroupoli “Democritus” located in distance of 7 km from the centre of city of Alexandroupolis in the Thrace. Initially it was constituted by a small building and a small runway.
In 1955 were recognized as international. In 1975 were manufactured the existing infrastructure in buildings and runway. In 1992 received the nickname “Demokritus” horary of ancient atomic philosopher Demokritus that was born in Avdira at Thrace.


The airport of araxos, is located west of the Achaia Region, in the Peloponnese, the southern Greek peninsula washed by the Ionian Sea and the Aegean Sea, 45 kilometers from the city of Patras, 60 kilometers north of Pyrgos and 260 kilometers from Athens. In the summer period the araxos patrai airport, also known as Agamemnon airport, is connected with the main European cities by charter flights, in addition to the national ones active during the year and which reach several locations including Thessaloniki and Crete. The stopover is an excellent starting point for discovering the wonderful Greek Ionian islands and the beaches of the west coast of the Peloponnese.

Ioannina airport

The airport of Ioannina (IOA) is located at a distance of 5 km. from the city of Ioannina and serves the entire region of western and northern Greece. Bus line 2 connects the airport with the city of Ioannina and the journey takes about 10 minutes and the ticket costs €0.75. There is also a taxi rank at the airport exit.

The airport has a mini bar next to the check-in area, an information desk, a post box, as well as car rental companies. The route from the airport of Ioannina to the center is short in duration and quite easy, since the signage is sufficient.

Kalamata airport

Kalamata Airport , serves, Pylos – Kalamata – Sparta, is located along the southern part of the Peloponnese, 223 kilometers from Athens, 215 from Patras and 715 from Thessaloniki. The airport is located 8 kilometers from Kalamata, a town overlooking the Ionian Sea in the southwest, a tourist destination that has been developing a lot in recent years.

Greek islands Airports


The airport of Astypalaia (JTY) is located near Maltezana and the distance from Chora is 13 km. From the airport of Astypalaia (JTY) there are also KTEL routes that take you from the airport to various destinations on the island. The frequency of the routes varies according to the season. Astypalaia airport has a taxi rank located at the exit of the airport.
The airport offers an information desk, Police, Doctor and Post Office as well as post boxes.


The airport of Chios (JKH) is located in the coastal zone of the eastern part of the island, at the southern end of the city and at a distance of 3 kilometers from its center. You can use the city buses to get to the city center. There is a taxi rank at the airport exit.

The airport offers various services such as wifi free internet restaurant/cafe, Police and information office in the departures area, while in the gate area there is a shop with Chios products. It also has Parking with a capacity of 50 spaces which is free and the right to park is limited to 2 hours. Finally, you can rent a car at the airport rental offices.


The airport of Corfu (CFU), is located 3 km. south of the city of Corfu in the location of Garitsa. Access to the airport is by city bus every hour, with a ticket cost of €2 and also by taxi with a charge of €8 – 10. The airport operates on a 24-hour basis and serves daily domestic flights to Athens and many international flights from international airports.

Airport facilities include parking for 120 cars and 60 buses, car hire companies, three travel companies, bank, ATM, taxi, cafe/bar, duty free shop and health centre.


Karpathos Airport located in the extreme south of the island. Its IATA code is AOK and is located 15 km from the city of Karpathos, it was opened in 1970 and has seen almost constant increases in passenger traffic since then. The only airline that flies to Karpathos in the winter is Olympic Air, a regional subsidiary of the Greek airline Aegean Airlines, which flies to Karpathos from Athens, Kasos, Rhodes and Sitia to ensure territorial continuity. For the rest, the airport is stormed in the summer season by various airlines, scheduled and charter, which connect the Greek island with the rest of Europe.


Kalymnos airport serve both domestic and international flights. Friendly staff will help you go through customs and passport control by passengers, check in their baggage and carry-on baggage. The waiting rooms that are equipped with comfortable armchairs, bars, restaurants, duty-free shops, free Wi-Fi will allow you to calmly wait for your flight. Most major airports have a business lounge where you can use the telephone, fax or hold your business meeting. And for passengers with small children there is a children’s room.


The airport is located along the southwestern coast of Kefalonia, just 8 kilometers from the island’s capital and close to the tourist villages of Keramies, Metaxata. The airport’s only terminal is used for both departures and arrivals and in the summer months, from May to the end of September, when numerous charter flights join the Olympic Arilines routes that connect Kefalonia with Athens and Thessaloniki all year round. , it can get crowded. To reach your destination from the airport, you can use the taxi service, buses or rent a car.


The airport of Kos located southwest of the capital and near the villages of Antimachia and Kardamena. The relatively large airport has two terminals and was renovated and expanded in 1997. In winter, daily connections reach Athens and Thessaloniki, while in summer, numerous charter flights reach the island of Kos from major European locations and from the main Italian airports thanks to to the great tourist vocation of the island.


Kasos airport serves the island mainly for commercial purposes and less for tourism purposes.The airport is located about one kilometer west of Fry, on the coastal road to Agios Konstantinos. The road transport between the airport and the villages of the island is served only by taxi. It’s a good idea to call a taxi by phone so you don’t have to wait long for one to arrive.


The airport of Kastellorizo (KZS), is located in the area of Megisti, from which it is 4 km. It has been operating since 1986 and accepts only small aircraft.

You can use the Municipality buses for €1.47 in order to go to Kastellorizo. These routes are operated only during the summer months. There is a taxi rank at the airport exit, although it is best to call one upon arrival.


Leros Airport located at Partheni in the nort part of the island. It is an important national airport in Greece in the southern Aegean Sea. The island of Leros is part of the Dodecanese prefecture and, located exactly between Kalymnos and Patmos, geographically belongs to Asia Minor. The airport is administered by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, which is also responsible for the supervision of Greek airspace.


The airport of Lemnos (LXS), is located 22 km. east of the city of Myrina which is also the capital of the city. You can go to the airport by taxi or call a Radio Taxi to take you to your destination. There are scheduled routes of the local KTEL that run routes that stop at the airport.

Lemnos airport offers various services such as cafeteria, duty-free shops, information office, Police, Parking with a capacity of 300 spaces, car rental offices as well as a weather forecast office


The airport of Milos (MLO) is located in the southwestern part of Milos near the Zephyria area. Specifically, it is located 5 km. southeast of the island’s port, Adamantas, and accepts only small aircraft. From the airport you can only get to Adamas by taxi, which is parked outside the airport during scheduled flight arrivals.


Mykonos Airport is a small international airport just 4 kilometers southeast of the capital of the island of the Cyclades archipelago, an ideal destination for all lovers of entertainment and nightlife. The building is modern and has two passenger terminals, a freight terminal and a cafeteria. During the tourist season, from the end of April to the end of September, the airport offers numerous charter connections with the main Italian airports and numerous European destinations, as well as internal connections with mainland Greece and the other islands of the Cyclades archipelago, of the Dodecanese and Crete.


The airport of Mytilini (MJT), is located 8 km. from the city of Mytilini and serves the island throughout the year. Local KTEL buses operate from Mytilini airport, which run scheduled routes and make stops at the airport and continue to various destinations on the island. There is also a taxi rank at the airport exit.

The Airport offers a restaurant/café, duty-free shops as well as other shops, an information desk, Police, car rental offices and outdoor parking, which can be used by customers during the hours of airport operations and scheduled flights.


The airport of Naxos (JNX), is located at a distance of 1 km. from the capital of the island and 3 km. from Saint Procopius. The journey from the airport to the capital takes about 5 minutes. Getting to and from the airport is by taxi only. Taxis are usually waiting at scheduled flight arrival times, but it’s a good idea to have a Radiotaxi phone as well. Naxos airport has a canteen.


The airport of Paros (PAS), is located 9 km. southwest of Parikia, near the village of Aliki. The journey from and to Parikia takes approximately 10 minutes, while from and to Naoussa approximately 25 minutes. Naoussa is also the second largest city of Paros, after Parikia and is located 10 km. northeast of Parikia.

You can use the taxis that usually wait at the scheduled arrival times of the flights at the airport, or call Radiotaxi. There are scheduled routes of the local KTEL that make stops at the airport and head either to Parikia or to Naoussa.


Rhodes International Airport Diagoras (RHO), is located along the west coast of the island 14 kilometers southwest of the city of Rhodes and in the immediate vicinity of the village of Paradisi. The airport, the fourth for passenger traffic in Greece, is connected with numerous Greek cities such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Iraklio and Mykonos, just to list a few, and with various European airports, especially in the summer when charter flights reach Europe. and the Middle East


The airport of Samos located in the southeastern part of the island, about 14 kilometers from Samos City, 4 kilometers from the village of Pythagorion, 37 kilometers from Karlovasi and 42 kilometers from Ormos Matathokambos. Samos International Airport is named after the astronomer and mathematician Aristarchus and has a single runway, serving both arrivals and departures, and a recently renovated passenger terminal, which offers some comforts and services such as two bars, a shop duty-free, a baby room, ATMs, travel agencies, car rental.


Santorini airport is located 7 kilometers south of the capital Fira, north of the village of Kamari and not far from the village of Monolithos, in the central eastern part of the island. The airport is connected to most international airports by direct flights operated by national and low-cost airlines, although it is sometimes necessary to make a stopover in Athens. The Greek capital is connected with the island of Thira with a flight lasting just 45 minutes.


Skiathos Airport (JSI) located on the island of Skiathos in Sporades. It has a small terminal that can easily seem crowded during the high summer season.
Amenities include three basic restaurants, a duty free shop, and free WiFi.


Zakynthos International Airport “Dionysios Solomos” ZTH is located in the Ampelokipoi area, 6 km from the capital of Zakynthos. Located very near from the area of Laganas. The airport is named after the national poet of Greece Dionysios Solomos.
The operation of the Zakynthos Airport began in 1972. In June 1982, the works on the new passenger terminal of the Airport was completed and it became the Zakynthos International Airport that serves as well foreign and charter flights

Airports in Crete


Heraklion airport is the main airport of the  island of Crete. It serves national and international flights as well as charter flights from many European countries and the UK. The airport start operating in 1939. It is located not far from the city’s harbor. The Airport of Heraklion “Nikos Kazantzakis” (HER) is the second most important Greek airport. It was named after the writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Located two kilometers from the city center of Heraklion of Crete, in the area of Nea Alikarnassos. The airport first opened in March 1939.
In 1947 the first (terminal was built. Hellenic Airlines started commercial flights in 1948. Today the airport serves national and international flights.


Chania International Airport Ioannis Daskalogiannis CHQ is located on the peninsula of Akrotiri (or Souda) and is approximately 14 kilometres from the city of Chania. The airport is an entry point to Western Crete for an increasing number of tourists.
Less crowded than Heraklion airport, Chania airport is connected throughout the year with daily flights to and from Athens and Thessaloniki and in the summer period, from the end of April to the end of October there are charter flights that connect Chania with major European destinations


Sitia Airport (JSH) was opened on June 9, 1984. It is only one km from the city and accessible only by taxi. There is a taxi rank at the airport exit. You can use them and go to any destination you want. Sitia airport can accommodate small and medium sized planes. Regular flights are made to and from Athens, Rhodes, Karpathos, Kasos, Aktio and Heraklion. Also, the airport is able to host charter and private jet flights.

Facilites and Services

Facilites at Greek aiports are usually a bit thin on the ground. Seating is not usually adequate for the numbers and, though ther is usually a snack bar and gift shop, they are usually very small and provide only the basics. It’s a good idea to take your own refreshments and hats or brollies to provide shade. You may end up standing in the blazing sun for a couple of hours before queues start to move. Myself, I head for the nearest taverna and turn up when the crowds have gone.

International flights

There are five major international airports: Athens, Corfu, Heraklion, Kos and Thessaloniki. Standards here tend to be relatively higher than most island airports with good links to ports and decent public transport. The new airport at Athens is the best example. Kos is the odd one out here, having no public transport so your only way out in by hoiday company bus, hire car or taxi.

Domestic flights

As well as domestic flights to all the main islands of Greece other Greek islands may take domestic flights, usually from Athens. These include:
AEGEAN: Chios, Ikaria, Lemnos, Lesbos
CYCLADES: Astipalaia, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Syros
DODECANESE: Karpathos, Kastelorizo, Leros

Olympic Airlines operates almost all domestic flights. You must reserve seats on domestic flights, especially in August or on public holidays. Delays in domestic flights are common and smaller planes cannot take off or land when it is windy.

Passing through a Greek island charter airport can be a dismal experience. Most have nothing but basic facilities. Flights in are not so bad, although you may have to wait for your luggage as airport workers think nothing of waiting for the next flight to arrive to save themselves an extra journey to the terminal building. Charter flights out are nearly always arranged to leave at roughly the same time so airport check-ins are packed, seating sparse and tempers frayed. Flight delays of more than an hour are common.

Facilites at Greek aiports are usually a bit thin on the ground. Seating is not usually adequate for the numbers and, though ther is usually a snack bar and gift shop, they are usually very small and provide only the basics. It’s a good idea to take your own refreshments and hats or brollies to provide shade. You may end up standing in the blazing sun for a couple of hours before queues start to move. Myself, I head for the nearest taverna and turn up when the crowds have gone.

Charter flights

Several islands take charter flights over the summer season (May to Oct) and these include:
IONIAN: Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos
SPORADES: Skiathos
CYCLADES: Mykonos, Santorini
CRETE: Chania, Heraklion
Tourists for Thassos fly to Kavala and those for Lefkas land at Prevezza on the mainland.

Greek airports map