Blue and yellow airline, Ryanair, will begin flying from Stansted Airport to Rhodes in the Aegean Sea from April 2011. The route is part of a Europe-wide expansion of services into the Greek market, which will see flights to Thessaloniki, Kos, or Rhodes added at 11 continental airports and 2 UK hubs.
Rhodes, together with Lesbos, Crete, and Corfu, is one of more than 6,000 Greek islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. The destination has a temperate climate, similar to mainland Greece, making it a haven for sun-seekers. Rhodes is perhaps best known for its archaeology, however. The island is the former home of the Colossus, a massive statue that guarded the seaward entrance to Rhodes’ Mandraki Harbour, and the present location of many ancient ruins, including the Acropolis of Rhodes.
As the island depends on tourism, Ryanair’s new routes from Bologna in Italy, Bremen in Germany, and Stansted Airport, among others, will no doubt be a boon for Rhodes’ economy, and for the Greek region overall. The airline claims that its routes to Greece, numbering 30, will inject €350m (£296m) into the local economy. Stephen McNamara, head of communications at Ryanair, said that the airline was “delighted to boost tourism” in southeast Europe, noting that the Irish carrier has also added routes to Lithuania in recent weeks.
The flight from Stansted to Rhodes will depart the Essex hub three times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Tickets, available since the beginning of February, begin at £37.99 for a one-way journey. Ryanair estimates that 700,000 people will travel on its Greek routes during 2011/12.