The FINANCIAL — AEGEAN reports a 12% growth in passenger traffic for the first quarter of 2018, welcoming 2.4 million passengers on board its flights.
More specifically, AEGEAN and Olympic Air carried 1.1m passengers on domestic flights, a 9% growth compared to the same period in 2017, while passengers carried on international flights increased by 16% to 1.3m. Load factor improved to 81.2% from 76.8% in the respective 2017 period.
Traffic from the main base in Athens rose by 13%, compared to the overall growth of 8% reported by the airport. AEGEAN supported and developed the number of destinations served during the low winter season and delivered an 18% growth in international traffic from Athens but also a 9% growth in domestic traffic, according to AEGEAN.
AEGEAN invests consistently on developing its network during the winter months, targeting the much needed extension of the tourism season. Following the experience of more than 6 years gained with international flights operated from Kalamata in cooperation with Costa Navarino, AEGEAN has expanded its winter operations to include international flights from Heraklion, Crete. More specifically, in cooperation with Tour Operators it has operated for the first time international flights during the November-April period from Crete to international destinations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. AEGEAN achieved satisfactory load factors, offering special low fares and intends to engage on similar activities in the 2018/2019 winter season.
Mr. Dimitris Gerogiannis, CEO of AEGEAN, commented:
“The higher utilization of the tourism capacity during the winter months is vital not just for our company but for the country as well. It requires creativity, joint efforts and business risk which often come at an initial cost, so as Greece can gradually achieve the success of countries like Portugal on developing its tourism product during the winter months. From our part, each and every year we strive to improve and go one step further, as we know that this is the only way that we can continue to see investments in our country in new quality tourist resorts, infrastructure projects and of course new and efficient aircraft fleet.
However, the necessary policy adjustments should also be in place: VAT in air transport has increased to 24%, being 3 times higher than the average of Southern Europe, newly imposed accommodation tax on hotels and the total absence of low incentivized airport charges during the winter season, put at risk all of the previously mentioned efforts. The immediate adjustment of these policies and the more efficient and on a seasonally adjusted basis implementation is considered of high importance.”