CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and American Airlines today celebrated the inaugural flight between Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH). This new service marks the first time the City of Chicago is linked to Athens with scheduled, nonstop passenger service.
The new service to Athens is the eighth new international service to Chicago announced for 2019.
"New nonstop service to Athens and other exciting destinations are providing more reasons for travelers to choose Chicago-O’Hare than ever before," said Jamie L. Rhee, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. "We thank American Airlines for investing to grow in Chicago with this historic service. This new flight strengthens the bond we share with our Sister City, Athens, and makes Chicago more accessible to travelers and businesses from around the world.”
The new Athens service will operate daily on 234-seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft for the season, from the inaugural flight through September 28th. Flights will depart Chicago-O’Hare at 5:35 p.m., arriving at Athens at 12:05 p.m. the next day. Inbound flights depart Athens at 2:15 p.m., and arrive at 6:00 p.m. the same day.
“As Chicago’s airline of choice, we are thrilled to inaugurate the city’s only nonstop service to the rich culture, history and cuisine of Athens, Greece,” said Franco Tedeschi, American Airlines Vice President – Chicago. “The new route joins our schedule alongside a lineup of popular international destinations and it’s a celebrated addition for our customers, team members and the vibrant Greek community in Chicago.”
This announcement is indicative of the strong partnership between Chicago and Athens, which have shared a Sister City agreement since 1997. New flights to Athens will benefit over a dozen Chicago companies with a presence in Greece, and supports the growing business and trade partnerships between Greece and Illinois, home to the third-largest Greek community in the U.S.
“American Airlines’ nonstop service to Chicago’s sister city of Athens will further strengthen the economic and cultural bond between Chicago and Greece,” said Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago. “It also further demonstrates why O’Hare has been named the most connected airport in the U.S.”
The establishment of new international air service has a significant impact on the local economy, with new American service to Athens expected to bring a $50 million annual economic impact to the Chicago region.
Under the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago has made attracting new international air services to both airports a key priority. Significant new international flights added since 2011—including 18 new nonstop international services added in 2018 alone—are estimated to have had an approximately $2.7 billion annual impact on the Chicago-area economy. O’Hare has been ranked the best-connected hub in the U.S. for three years in a row and second most connected in the world.
Chicago’s air connectivity stands to further thrive, with a modernized airfield and $8.5 billion plan by the City and the airlines to set the stage for O’Hare’s biggest terminal expansion yet. These investments are a part of Mayor Emanuel's O'Hare 21 vision, designed to modernize facilities, deliver more gates, new passenger amenities, more economic opportunity for the City of Chicago, and keep travelers worldwide connected to Chicago.
For more information on O’Hare 21, please visit www.ORD21.com. For more information about American Airlines and to purchase tickets, please visit www.aa.com.