Symi Travel News

Latest Travel News for Visitors to Symi by Andy Ward

Symi Visitor Travel blog


The by now traditional early-season strikes aimed at the Greek government are taking a toll.

Not only are today’s calls at Symi by Blue Star off because of strikes, Friday’s calls are now cancelled too for the same reason, making a 4-day strike by ships crews in total.

However, Dodekanisos Seaways ferries are operating normally, and indeed I travelled on the Dodekanisos Express yesterday from Symi to Rhodes, so you can get on and off the island with both Dodekanisos Seaways and Sea Dreams.

Now the Air Traffic Controllers have joined in with a 4 hour strike from 11:00 to 15:00 today. Note that this affects the whole of Greek airspace, not just taking off and landing, and for Northern European flights there’s roughly an hour’s flying time over Greece before arriving in Rhodes, and the same after departing Rhodes. Some flights can reduce the impact by using Turkish airspace which starts only 10 minutes east of Rhodes Airport. This trick enables Finnair to depart Rhodes as late as 10:50 today for Helsinki. But there isn’t the capacity for every Rhodes flight to go this way. Most flights to Turkish airports such as Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya from Western Europe cross Greek airspace so are also hit by the Greek strike and not surprisingly Turkish ATC prioritises flights to its own airports when alternative routings are requested.

My own 12:15 flight has been rescheduled to 17:15, but at least it is still operating.

  • By Jan, May 17, 2017 @ 9:17 am

    We knew about this strike yesterday (Wednesday) morning asnd have been following he progress (so far non-progress) of friends travelling to Symi today.

    We wondered what the ‘rules’ at the originating ie UK end are for take-offs after the end of the strike. Are the most-delayed flights put at the front of the queue or do those scheduled for post-strike departure keep their slots? The first way annoys the maximum number of passengers; the second mightily pisses off a lower number. Not that passenger contentment rates highly in the decision, I suspect.

  • By AndysPosting, May 18, 2017 @ 8:22 am

    Other things being equal, flights that would be unaffected by the strike because they were always timed outside the strike period will retain their slots, and flights that needed to be retimed have to negotiate for new slots/flight paths. This was what was done yesterday – flights didn’t just run late, they were rescheduled with new slots.
    It isn’t just about take off and landing. European skies are very busy and transit slots are just as crucial. If (say) Croatian air traffic control can safely handle 30 planes an hour travelling through their air space, then once that limit is reached, planes either have to route over some other country or delay departure until ATC can handle them. They can’t very well wait at the border.

    Departing Rhodes yesterday my flight (retimed from 12:15 to 17:15) actually got away at 17:55, having spent 10 minutes ready to depart but waiting a timed slot.

  • By Jan, May 18, 2017 @ 8:37 am

    Interesting – thanks for the info.

    You probably know this already, but the online Rhodes Airport arrivals info was insisting that the outbound easyJet flight was cancelled even when it was in the air on its way to you. So I shall treat site that with great scepticism in future.

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