Aegean Airlines is one company that appears to believe the worse is over for the travel industry. The private-owned Greek airline plans to extend its route network early next year to include destinations in neighboring countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Egypt.
The airline places a lot of hope in increased scheduled traffic to Greece due to the Olympic Games next year. Besides controlling some 55% of all domestic traffic -some 90,000 people visit its Internet site monthly- the airline believes it will carry more than 400,000 extra passengers on charter flights. It is also in discussions with other airlines to complete commercial agreements that could possibly extend its reach even further next year.
In the first six months of this year Aegean increased passenger traffic by 18% over the same period last year to reach 1,242,000 passengers. For this year, it expects to post an overall increase of 12% and carry 2,800,000 passengers. Last year, Aegean was one of the few airlines that posted an increase in revenue and profit.
In its four years of operation, Aegean has carried nine million passengers on some 110,000 flights, which gives it an average load factor of 65% for the entire period.
Its staff of 1,300 has given the airline the honor of being the most punctual airline at the Athens international airport and the only Greek airline to receive an award from the European Regional Airlines Association. Early this year, Aegean inaugurated its Miles & Bonus program.