Symi Visitor Accommodation Travel Blog

Flights, ferries, and travel tips to help visitors to the Greek island of Symi

Symi Visitor Travel blog

Late January update

A mixture of flight and ferry news:

Dodekanisos Seaways timetable for the period up to 15 October is now available on their website, but still subject to alteration and not bookable past 31 March – but then as I repeatedly say, there’s no need to book any great time in advance. I’m sure their boss George Spanos appreciates the interest-free loans from people who insist they must book for September in February, but it really and truly isn’t necessary. If the sailing is going to sell out at all, it won’t do so until a week or less before departure. Greeks don’t believe in booking months in advance, day trippers often only decide the day before.

The Blue Star Patmos won’t be ready to resume her place on their routes through Symi until about 8 February, and the Blue Star Delos will cover the route in the meantime, assuming that the weather calms down enough for normal sailings to operate.

Ryanair have just announced a new route with two flights a week between Manchester and Rhodes, on Mondays and Fridays from 1 June to 26 October. Planes leave Manchester at 14:30 arriving Rhodes 20:55, returning from Rhodes at 21:20 and getting back to Manchester at 23:55. I suspect this replaces the route from Liverpool which still isn’t visible in their timetable.

After the legal shenanigans over the airline Niki, it has now been sold to a consortium of its founder Niki Lauda, and the Thomas Cook group. It wouldn’t be surprising if IAG’s Vueling subsidiary, who had bid and had their bid accepted, now retaliate by taking action in Spain (their home country) to block the airport slots Niki needs to operate there. Expect flights to Greece from Dusseldorf and Vienna, using the brand name LaudaMotion. The pilots are very unhappy about this takeover and 90% of Niki’s former pilots have applied for jobs to other airlines, so it remains to be seen how many flights can be operated. There’s somewhat of a Europe-wide shortage of experienced senior pilots capable of being graded as Captain.

This weekend should see me uploading flight summary tables and ferry timetable summaries to the blog, look for flights from Scandanavia/Finland, and from Central/Eastern Europe, as well as the summer’s ferries.

Getting to Symi 2018 – Italy

Here are the summary flight tables for flights from Italy to Rhodes and Kos. A lot remains to be finalised and entries in Red are flights that operated last year but so far aren’t available for this year and may never be. I’ll check regularly and either insert the update in black in a later edition, or delete the flight altogether.

Flights from Italy to Rhodes and Kos Summer 2018
Flights from France to Rhodes summer 2018
Flights from the Netherlands to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018
Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018
Flights from the UK and Ireland to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Getting to Symi 2018 – France

France continues to have surprisingly few scheduled flights to Rhodes this year, and none at all to Kos. However Aegean has added Lyon to the list of French airports it serves with direct flights.

Flights from France to Rhodes summer 2018
Flights from the Netherlands to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Flights from the UK and Ireland to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Getting to Symi 2018 – The Netherlands

So here’s the flights list for the Netherlands. As with Belgium. Corendon has withheld exact timings until they get confirmed slots. There are also some timing anomalies with both TUI and Transavia, where turnround times are impossibly tight, or the inbound flight passes the outbound flight in mid air. No doubt they’ll fix these shortly and we’ll see Version 2.

In the meantime, Rotterdam and Maastricht gain flights for the first time in several years, whereas Groningen loses them entirely.


Flights from the Netherlands to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Flights from Belgium and Luxembourg to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Flights from the UK and Ireland to Rhodes and Kos summer 2018

Getting to Symi 2018 – now Belgium

Here’s the almost complete flight schedule for direct flights from Belgium to Rhodes and Kos for summer 2018.

Almost complete because Corendon have not yet released the actual times of their flights, sensibly as a semi-charter airline they’re waiting until after the final ATC slot allocation conference at the beginning of February, so when they do publish the times they will be accurate. In the meantime we know the days of the week and dates they will be flying.

Where’s Thomas Cook Belgium? -they sold it to Brussels Airlines, which is why Brussels Airlines now appears on the schedule. We now have a slightly longer season for most flights, including TUI Belgium.

Summer 2018 flights from Belgium to Kos and Rhodes

Summer 2018 flights from the UK and Ireland to Kos and Rhodes

Week One January flights update

The European airline industry continues to be in a state of confusion. First International Airlines Group (owns Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling) made a successful bid for the Niki division of Air Berlin and planned to operate something like 25 planes out of bases in Austria and Germany. Then a so-called consumer group filed a lawsuit that blocked this, apparently in the hope that it would make it easier for people who were owed money by Air Berlin to get it back. You can tell that the group appears to consist mainly of ambulance-chasing lawyers, because they’ve forgotten that if Niki had resumed flying, a large number of people who had booked tickets for dates in the future would have actually got their flights. Now these people simply join the queue for partial refunds with the people the lawyers represent. The pot of money available to make payments from hasn’t got any larger, indeed it is smaller, because IAG were buying Niki off the liquidators. So everyone now gets less, except the lawyers who won’t make a proportionate reduction in their fees, I’m sure.

Next Thomas Cook Group has bought five planes-worth of flying from the liquidators of Air Berlin, but plan to use one of the Air Berlin companies as the operating company, not its existing German airline business, Condor. Why isn’t yet known.

EasyJet’s purchase of a chunk of Air Berlin has gone through and they are now operating flights out of Berlin Tegel as well as their existing ones from Berlin Schoenfeld. At the moment this is mostly with subcontracted planes and crews, while ex-Air Berlin planes are refitted to EasyJet standard and the crews trained on EasyJet safety and operational procedures. There’s no effect on the operations to Rhodes for this summer, which continue to be from Schoenfeld.

In Italy, the endless Alitalia sale saga continues. Lufthansa is the preferred bidder, and now details are being worked on. Don’t expect a resolution until after the upcoming Italian General Election, as significant cutbacks and job losses are inevitable.

In the UK, British Airways has acquired the London Gatwick slots used last summer by Monarch. They have announced the flying programme, which includes an extra flight to Rhodes on Mondays. There isn’t time to get planes and crews to cover all the slots, so some flights, including this extra Rhodes one, will be subcontracted to the specialist UK charter operator Titan, who have a relationship as a BA supplier extending back for many years, and know how to operate to (and often exceed) BA’s service standards.

In all these changes, I’m hearing people saying “but I was on the such-and-such flight last year and it was full, why isn’t anyone operating it this year?”. The fact that a plane is full doesn’t mean the flight is profitable, it all depends on the cost of operation and the fares that were charged. Bear in mind that Air Berlin and Monarch actually went bankrupt, and Alitalia only avoids bankruptcy by loans from the Italian government, so quite clearly even their full flights weren’t actually profitable. Well run airlines (which obviously doesn’t include these three) also cull full flights because they believe they can make more money elsewhere with the same planes and crews.

So here’s the updated flight schedule from the UK to Rhodes and Kos for summer 2018, no doubt there will be even more changes in a few weeks when the final slot details for charter and semi-charter flights are released.

Expect the listings for several more countries (though not Germany, I’m afraid) to appear this week.