When Cyprus Airways failed in its efforts to take over Olympic Airways back in 2001, it decided on a counter move and launched its own Athens-based carrier, Hellas Jet, which got off the ground on June 24. The new carrier hopes to undercut Olympic by 15 percent, says the commercial manager of the new airline, Tasos Mais.
“This is not an alternative to Olympic,” he says, “It’s a first choice. We’re offering a modern product with a fleet of Airbus A-320s flying to major European destinations. We have fully trained, highly professional staff who provide a totally different service to that of other airlines, including in-flight entertainment and maximum on-board comforts. There’s also leather seating, with 38 inches of legroom in business class and 33 inches in economy.”
Daily scheduled flights to Paris, Brussels and London began on June 24, and the new Zurich route got off the ground on July 1. “Our first flights have received excellent feedback from passengers,” he claims. “They welcome our modern approach. Whilst our main target group is people travelling for business purposes, we are certain our flights will attract a wide clientele. We also offer flexible ticket alteration arrangements for students studying abroad,” he adds. Additionally, the airline hopes to tap into an expected surge in traffic in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Getting all the licenses in time for the launch was touch-and-go for a while. The company received its air operator’s license on June 9 and its technical license just a week before the launch.
To cover domestic flights, Hellas Jet signed an agreement with Aegean Airlines that will enable the new carrier to offer through-flights at one low-price ticket from the Greek islands and other locations to European destinations.