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Travel

Aegean Airlines Takes Off to New Destinations

ATHENS – With new destinations in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as strengthened presence in traditional markets like Cyprus, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, AEGEAN continues its development path, celebrating 25 years of air transport.

In 2024, the company will offer 19.5 million seats in 47 countries and 155 destinations, as stated by Mr. D. Gerogiannis, managing director of Aegean Airlines, at a press event in Dubai. The company plans to expand its activity this year, mainly from its base in Athens, but also from Thessaloniki.

Reviewing AEGEAN’s history, Mr. Gerogiannis credited the vision and perseverance of founder Theodoros Vassilakis, and the strategic directions of Eutychis Vassilakis, along with the significant contributions of shareholders, especially in the first four years. He emphasized that humanity is what brought AEGEAN to its current status.

“Today, 3,500 people serve our common goal and values. We compete with big companies; 50-60 companies operate at Athens airport alone. We also serve the country itself, aiming to provide an image worthy of it,” he said, clarifying that “he is not afraid of the next day.” “We are making deliberate moves, and this will ensure the healthy development of the company,” he added.

Mr. Gerogiannis also mentioned AEGEAN’s significant investment in a new training and maintenance center. Within twelve months, the facilities for the new pilot and cabin crew training center were upgraded. By the end of 2023, the first four simulators were installed and are now operational, meeting the needs of both the company and third-party airlines. The new technical base is at an advanced stage of relocation from building 57 to the renovated building 56 at Athens airport. Mr. Gerogiannis noted that three or four heavy maintenance tests have already been conducted for foreign companies in the old facilities.

He also discussed the company’s expansion to distant destinations outside the European Union, the Persian Gulf, Central Africa, and Asia, with an investment in four specially configured A321neo aircraft. These new planes, expected in 2026-2027, will enable longer-range flights of four to seven and a half hours, mainly to destinations in the south and southeast of Greece. Mr. Gerogiannis stated that there is demand for this new product, with a goal of becoming profitable 1-2 years after development.

Regarding its fleet, AEGEAN announced at the end of 2023 the expansion of its order with Airbus from 46 to 50 aircraft. The company exercised its option to purchase three additional A321neo aircraft and converted five initial orders of A320neo aircraft to the larger A321neo. To date, 28 neo aircraft have been delivered, with another 22 expected between 2024-2028.

Yannis Rasoglou, Director of Network and Airline Partnerships, emphasized reducing seasonality and noted that the airline has 13.4 million seats this summer, a 6% increase compared to last year. April and May 2024 show capacity growth of 12%-15%, with this trend expected to continue. The summer program includes new routes such as Dubai, Sarajevo, Palermo, and Vilnius, alongside strengthened existing routes from Athens and Thessaloniki.

Pepi Stamati, deputy director of pricing policy of AEGEAN, reported a 6% increase in available seats and an 80% occupancy rate from November to March, matching 2023 levels. International routes saw a 10% increase in available seats and an 81% occupancy rate. The strategy to expand the summer season maintained summer destinations like Bilbao, Tallinn, and Chisinau in the winter schedule, achieving occupancy rates of 70-75%. The Thessaloniki-Barcelona route and routes from Heraklion to Munich and Frankfurt recorded occupancy rates close to 80%.

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