Symi Travel News

Latest Travel News for Visitors to Symi by Andy Ward

Symi Visitor Travel blog

2017 Bankrupt Airlines

Today Air Berlin has started bankuptcy proceedings. This doesn’t mean that it will stop flying instantly. The German government has guaranteed a bridging loan to keep operations going until November, during which time the business is likely to be broken up and sold in different chunks to various buyers.

Despite this, in 2016 and earlier the news would have had a serious impact on people flying from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to Rhodes and Kos. But this year Air Berlin moved its summer sun flights into its Austrian subsidiary “Niki” and de-merged Niki from the main airline. Niki is not insolvent and is expected to carry on as usual.

Then there’s Alitalia – well when I talk about bankrupt airlines, there’s always Alitalia, which has had more bail-outs than a leaky boat. They are also on government life support until the end of the tourist season. A different government of course, but the same idea. Bidders have been invited to purchase the airline, and some offers have been received. The closing date for this hasn’t been reached yet.

My advice: avoid both Air Berlin and Alitalia until things become clearer, and do not book flights with them past late October unless you have a strong appetite for risk or are insured against airline failure.

Kos Port news

As of today (Sunday August 13) sufficient work has been done to repair the quayside and mooring points at Kos Town port for Blue Star Ferries to return to the main port area by the castle, and they will stop serving Kefalos. The announcement of the first phase of repairs being completed wasn’t clear as to what is happening today to the Dodekanisos Seaways hydrofoils, the ferries to/from Turkey, and other small inter-island ferries. All of these have continued to use Kos Town but moored at different points within the port area to those normally used.

For example, Dodekanisos Seaways have been temporarily using what is still known as the Hydrofoil Pier, though there have been no hydrofoils to use it for some years. This is located south of the castle, off the main shore-front road, but before you reach the main marina. The disadvantage of it is that it was only built for passenger vessels, there’s no way to load anything bigger than a motorbike onto a ferry there. As the Dodekanisos Express used the Hydrofoil Pier again this morning, we can assume that there isn’t enough space in the rebuilt area to handle their ferries as well as Blue Star’s.

The ferries to/from Turkey have been temporarily using a location on the north side of the harbour, by the Kosta Palace Hotel and the electricity company offices, and still are today.

Earthquake news

Last night an earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale happened with its epicentre under the sea between Kos and Bodrum. Two people were killed on Kos when the roof and walls of the bar in Kos Town they were drinking in collapsed, and 9 people have been evacuated to hospital in Heraklion or Athens with serious injuries. Others with minor injuries are being treated locally. Bodrum saw some building damage and a mini tidal wave flooded streets. Around 100 people are reported injured there, most when they jumped from the windows of buildings to get out quicker.

The quake was felt on Symi and in parts of Rhodes, but there are no reports of any injuries or damage to buildings on either island.

Rhodes and Kos airports are operating normally, as are ferries between Rhodes and Symi. There has been damage to the port installations in Kos town, where the mooring areas for large ferries are cracked and broken, and there is a fear that debris that fell into the sea has reduced the available depth of water below safety levels for big ships. As a result calls by the large Blue Star ferries have been transferred to the port of Kefalos on Kos until further notice. There will be a bus connection from Kos Town.

Dodekanisos Seaways will continue to serve Kos Town as their catamarans have enough clear depth of water, and don’t require access for large trucks.

The rest of Kos, outside Kos Town and its suburbs, is completely undamaged.

Extra Sunday evening ferry – more same-day to Symi

The Sunday evening extra trip by Sea Dream’s “Symi” finally happened today, and she’s sitting in Yialos at the moment. The timetable shows Rhodes-Symi at 19:00 and Symi to Rhodes at 21;15, though it looks like she’s a few minutes late. This will continue until early September.

So here’s the updated high season combined ferry timetable.

And with another evening sailing, there are more flights that allow people to get from their local airport to Symi on the same day. Not as many as you’d think though as there’s no corresponding morning sailing from Symi, making it difficult to get home again the same day. Still we can add 8 flights, including some additional airports and one new country to our Same Day Symi chart here.

Same Day to Symi?

My colleagues at Symi Visitor Accommodation set me a challenge to see what flights existed that allowed people to travel to Symi from their home countries all in one day, and to return home all in one day. They were amazed to see how many options there were. These mostly use the Blue Star ferries from Rhodes – including the new Monday departure from Rhodes that will sail in July and August, a few that arrive especially early in the morning into Rhodes or leave especially late in the evening make use of Dodekanisos Seaways.
None use Sea Dreams -if they ever get their ferry fixed and try some evening sailings I’ll consider repeating the exercise.
I’ve stretched one point by including return flights that leave Rhodes before midnight but get you back home early the following morning.

So don’t ignore Symi because you need to spend a night in Rhodes – here are 23 different airports with same-day service in July and August, and the flight details you need to make a reservation.