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Contenders Announced For Remote Greek Island Routes

Five airlines have expressed interest in the tender for the operation of the 24 state-subsidized air routes to remote Greek islands for the period 1 April 2010-31 March 2012.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, competing carriers are airline companies Aegean Airlines, Astra Airlines, Athens Airways, Olympic Air and Sky Express.

The invitation for tenders for the 24 state-subsidized air routes to remote Greek islands was launched in mid-October 2009 after the cancellation of the initial tender last September due to the announcement of parliamentary elections (on 4 October).

According to the authority, Olympic Air is interested in taking on all 24 state-subsidized air routes while Aegean Airlines has submitted offers for 11 of them. The carrier announced its intention to cover the routes by offering twice the availability of seats of the minimum amount required by the tender.

Athens Airways is interested in 15 lines while carriers Sky Express and Astra Airlines have submitted their offers for ten and four routes respectively.

Under European Union legislation the operation period of state-subsidized domestic air routes to remote destinations is for five years. However, in the case of Greece’s 24 state-subsidized routes the assignment period is only two years.

According to reports, the ministry plans to review the routes to reduce the subsidized lines in order to increase routes in other airports where needed.

The winning airline is to be announced on 1 March 2010.

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