Emirates has been flying to Athens, Greece for over 20 years now and back in 2017, they began to fly non-stop from Athens to Newark as well. Now, the Greek government is asking Emirates to fly to Thessaloniki as well, the second largest city in Greece and gateway to the beautiful north.
Greece Asks Emirates to Fly to Thessaloniki
For those that are not aware of the geography of Greece north of Athens and the Greek islands, Thessaloniki is the second largest city in the country. It is also the gateway to some of the more beautiful and differing areas of Greece. To the west you have forests and mountains, slightly to the southwest there is Mt Olympus, and to the southeast are the beautiful beaches of Halkidiki.
Of course, there is also Thessaloniki. I know the city and area exceptionally well and can tell you that it is one of my favorite places on the Greek mainland. It is territorial jealousy, ok, but if you were to ask anyone that lives in Thessaloniki, they would say that Athens is nice to visit for a day or two but that is it. 🙂
Thessaloniki has great ancient sites within easy access – I mean like you could be sitting eating some street gyro just mere feet from something hundreds or even almost a couple of thousand of years old. And, speaking of eating, there is some amazing food throughout the city with the best gyros I have ever had as well as awesome seafood caught that day and more meat than you could imagine. Plus, the cost is much less than what you would pay in island areas or Athens.
As for the airport, it was just totally worked on with a brand new terminal being built as part of Fraport’s 14 airport lease/upgrade agreement. The Thessaloniki airport is now modernized and is already a hub for Aegean Airlines to service cities all over Europe and even outside of Europe. The one bad part is that there is no jet bridge – everything is a “hard” gate meaning you either walk or take a bus to/from the terminal.
Anyway, Greece is asking Emirates to do what they have done in Athens – fly from Dubai to Thessaloniki and then continue on to New York. I would LOVE this! Right now, the quickest and most convenient ways between the US and Thessaloniki would involve transiting either Istanbul or Athens (by quick/convenient, I mean more time on the long-haul and a sub-1 hour flight on the regional flight).
I definitely think that we could see this soon and this would certainly help with people wanting to visit not just northern Greece, but also Albania, Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, etc. Thessaloniki is only a couple/few hours from these places. Not only that, but many citizens of the UAE have been purchasing beachfront property in northern Greece so their own citizens would enjoy this also. This is one of the reasons that Qatar Airways began flying non-stop from Doha to Thessaloniki pre-covid.
Right now, Emirates has been the only airline to fly non-stop from Athens to the US so I could see Emirates adding a non-stop from Thessaloniki to the US, possibly JFK? that would run from April – October.