ATHENS — The outbreak of Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for the airline sector, especially in the second quarter for all Europe. Travel restrictions and local lockdowns imposed by governments during the period caused the cessation of effectively all of the company’s flight activity, Aegean Airlines said on Monday.
In an announcement, the Greek airline said that the total number of flights operated fell by 82 pct in the second quarter (with a reduction of 95 pct and 92 pct for the months of April and May, respectively), while passenger traffic fell 92 pct.
Consolidated revenue for the second quarter stood at just 40.4 million euros, 88 pct down compared to the second quarter of 2019. Pre-tax losses (excluding extraordinary) stood at 58.7 million euros against pretax profit of 31.5 million in the respective 2019 period. As a result, overall first half 2020 consolidated revenue fell by 64 pct to 187.4 million euros, while underlying pre-tax losses stood at 132.3 million. The results were burdened by extraordinary losses of 68.5 million euros from ineffective hedging, mainly due to the large portion of fuel hedging contracts for the duration of 2020 being rendered ineffective by the significant reduction in flight activity. Net losses after tax stood at 158.8 million euros in the first half compared to losses of 13 million euros in the respective period last year.
Mr. Dimitris Gerogiannis, CEO of AEGEAN, commenting on the results, said: “The last seven months have been a constant strife for flexibility, resilience and efforts to develop our viability forward in what is certainly the most difficult period the global airline industry has ever faced. Due to travel restrictions the second quarter of the year was a period with essentially zero activity. Our efforts were primarily directed towards cost management as well as establishing and implementing strict protocols for the safety of our passengers and crews. By end of June with the passing of the first wave of the pandemic and the partial lifting of travel restrictions, we made a significant effort to rebuild our activity, eventually covering 84 destinations from Athens and 52 from our regional bases, supporting Greek tourism. However, several markets, outside and within the EU remained inaccessible while demand for travel even from accessible countries was weak, despite Greece’s strong relative attractiveness and performance. Since early August with the resurgence of the pandemic a new round of dissimilar, uncoordinated measures across the region, once again limited access and demand for travel. As a result, we operated less than 50 pct of our scheduled activity in August, with particularly low load factors for the period. Looking forward, our industry and our company are faced with the most challenging and least predictable winter ever. We will continue our daily effort to adjust to the new travel requirements of our passengers, to further extend our “crisis endurance runway” and to develop effective and flexible alternative scenarios for our product and network for 2021. We thank all of our staff for their efforts and our passengers for their daily trust to fly with us during these difficult circumstances. Last but not least, as all aviation industry bodies emphatically communicate, it is crucial that nations around the world establish common protocols for pre-flight covid testing that will allow all markets to become accessible, replacing quarantines and market closures. This is certainly a requirement for non- EU to EU travel but could also be the case for intra EU international travel should this be deemed necessary by the medical experts”.
It is noted that during the third quarter of the year the company adjusted its planned delivery schedule for its new Airbus A320/A321 fleet, maintaining its total commitment at 46 aircraft but deferring A/C from 2021/2022 post 2023. The company has already taken delivery of five new NEO aircraft and expects to take delivery of four A321NEO by April 2021.