Greece has imposed a two-week lockdown in the northern regions of Thessaloniki and Serres starting from November 3 in an effort to contain a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. The move includes the suspension of all non-essential international and domestic flights to and from Thessaloniki during the two-week period.

The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) issued a NOTAM informing operators that all international and domestic passenger flights are suspended until November 17 at 0600L (0400Z), changing an earlier directive that stated midnight on that date as the end of the restrictions.

Ellinair (EL, Thessaloniki) has suspended its two domestic routes from Thessaloniki to Athens Int'l (6x weekly) and Heraklion (3x weekly), its chief executive Thanos Paschalis confirmed to ch-aviation.

“We have just entered a second lockdown for Thessaloniki, and we can possibly see the same being impacted for Athens. We are talking to our passengers, as we have to refund or rebook for a future date,” he said.

Aegean Airlines (A3, Athens Int'l) confirmed on its website that both it and its regional subsidiary Olympic Air (OA, Athens Int'l) had suspended all domestic and international flights to and from Thessaloniki until and including November 17. All passengers with tickets for this period will be informed about their options, it added, either with a personalised message direct from the company or by their travel agent.

Sixteen airlines operate to Thessaloniki, according to the ch-aviation capacities module. El Al Israel Airlines confirmed that it had suspended its 2x weekly route there from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion for the duration of the closure.

Since the pandemic began, Greece has reported fewer cases than most countries in Europe, but infections rose significantly in October. The new lockdown measures also include a one-month closure of bars, restaurants, and non-essential shops and a nighttime curfew on movement.

“I understand the stress and the fatigue, but public health comes first and foremost,” health minister Vassilis Kikilias said according to the newspaper Kathimerini. “The government did sound the warning bell in time, but some people turned a deaf ear. We are obliged to limit the spread.”