Hellenic Seaways’ cancellation of Thessaloniki-Sporades summer routes disappoints officials

The suspension of boat schedules between Thessaloniki and the Sporades Islands in the summer season is deplorable, the president of the Skopelos Hoteliers Association, Mary Diamanti, told Praktoreio 104.9FM, the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) radio, on Wednesday.

The Hellenic Seaways’ recent decision to remove “Flying Cat 4” from the route that had been running the past two summers is catastrophic, she noted, since agencies and professionals have invested in this connection. The line connected the largest northern city of Greece with the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnissos.

Diamanti said that mayors of the Sporades islands are scheduled to meet with company officials, as will hoteliers at a separate meeting.

The Thessaloniki-Sporades route was reintroduced, after a six-year interruption, in the summer of 2016. The summer-only runs continued in 2017, but Hellenic Seaways sales manager Aris Katsaitis told ANA that the company decided to suspend them because they were unprofitable. The “Flying Cat 4” will be added to sailings from the port of Rafina, on the mainland, he said.

Thessaloniki deputy mayor for tourism development Spyros Pegas also expressed disappointment, saying that all agencies in the city had worked hard to reintroduce and support the sea link.

In another development related to Hellenic Seaways, a new ship, “Nissos Chios”, took over the routes between Kavala in northern Greece and the islands of Limnos, Agios Efstratios in the North Aegean and the port of Lavrio in southern Attica.

The new ship replaced the “Express Pegasos”, which was withdrawn for its annual maintenance work. “Nissos Chios” will have three winter runs a week, and it one of the largest and upgraded Hellenic Seaways ships. In the summer, the weekly runs will be increased to five or six.