Boosting its routes and activities in Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion (Crete), accelerating the delivery of 22 new aircraft in the 2022-2023 period, and implementing a flexible strategy adapted to the Covid-19 era are the priorities for Greek national carrier AEGEAN.
“The worst is behind us. We expect the third quarter to be the first profitable period since the pandemic broke out,” said AEGEAN President Eftychios Vassilakis during a teleconference presenting the company’s financial results for the first half of the year.
He went on to add that September was already showing signs of improvement while August managed to recover 80 percent of its flights.
Vassilakis underlined the importance of adjusting the company’s strategy to meet the changing demands of the times. He said Greece had managed despite the unprecedented health crisis to “show a dynamic in tourism and to demonstrate that it has a very strong brand name”.
Looking ahead, he said Covid-19, despite vaccination rollouts worldwide, will continue to impact travel into 2023 and travelers will continue to book last minute.
Referring to performance so far in 2021, he said the year kicked off with 15 percent of 2019 activity and has achieved 45-50 percent of 2019 levels in Q2.
For the September-December period, AEGEAN is aiming to offer 70-80 percent of available seats compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
“In October and even in early November, we can expect an extension of the season because people did not travel in the summer,” which can also trigger the start of the 2022 season earlier, from March, he said.
Looking ahead to performance after summer 2021 through to the beginning of 2022, Vassilakis forecasts the number of flights to be down by 12 percent to 25 percent compared to 2019.
“We expect a further return to normalcy, however restrictions will determine the market and it’s impossible to predict those”, he said adding that in any case performance for the last quarter of the year will depend on Covid-19 developments, the emergence of variants, and vaccination rates.
Lastly, the company is moving ahead with its initial target to boost its fleet with a total of 46 new aircraft, 22 of which are expected by 2023.