Aegean Airlines plans major international expansion this summer; 30 new routes will result in ASK growth of 14%
While waiting for the European Commission to decide on its latest attempt to merge with Olympic Air, Greece’s biggest carrier, Aegean Airlines, has announced plans to launch almost 30 new routes this summer. The Star Alliance member (since June 2010) has seen its traffic stabilise at between six and seven million annual passengers in recent years. With the well-publicised problems in the Greek economy, the airline’s domestic traffic was down 12% to 2.6 million in 2012, while international traffic remained unchanged at 3.5 million. However, international traffic to/from Athens was down 6% to 2.1 million, while international traffic at other airports was up 10% to 1.4 million. The annual load factor was up an impressive 5.4 percentage points to 74.3%. Although the airline made a loss in both 2011 and 2012, the €10.5 million loss in 2012 was a considerable improvement on the €27.2 million loss of 2011 as revenue was down only 2% to €653.4 million.
Almost 30 new routes this summer; but 13 have been dropped
The airline recently unveiled its plans for major route expansion this summer. Almost 30 new routes have been announced from a range of Greek (and Cypriot) airports.
|Base airport||Destination (WF, Start date)|
|Alexandroupolis (AXD)||Heraklion HER (1, 9 July), Moscow DME (1, 15 June), St. Petersburg LED (1, 31 May)|
|Athens (ATH)||Baku GYD (2, 28 May), Berlin TXL (3, 30 April), Geneva GVA (3, 24 April), Kiev IEV (2, 3 April), Lyon LYS (2, 20 June), Manchester MAN (2, 25 May), St. Petersburg LED (2, 29 May), Warsaw WAW (3, 7 March)|
|Corfu (CFU)||Moscow DME (3, 27 April)|
|Heraklion (HER)||Düsseldorf DUS (3, 31 March), Frankfurt FRA (2, 31 March), St. Petersburg LED (2, 1 May), Tel Aviv TLV (2, 18 April)|
|Kalamata (KLX)||Moscow DME (2, 24 May), Munich MUC (2, 10 March), Stockholm ARN (1, 9 March), Tel Aviv TLV (2, 13 June)|
|Kos (KGS)||Moscow DME (2, 27 April)|
|Larnaca (LCA)||Kiev IEV (3, 3 April), London LGW (7, 31 March)|
|Rhodes (RHO)||Brussels BRU (1, 5 June), St. Petersburg LED (2, 1 May)|
|Thessaloniki (SKG)||Hannover HAJ (1, 27 May), Milan MXP (2, 4 June), Nuremberg (1, 27 May)|
|Source: Innovata. WF: Weekly Frequency|
According to the airline, these new routes include five new countries (Azerbaijan, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine) and 10 new international destinations (Baku, Berlin, Geneva, Hannover, Kiev, Lyon, Manchester, Nuremberg, Stockholm and Warsaw). The expansion at Heraklion will result in the airline basing five of its fleet of 29 Airbus A320-series aircraft at the Crete airport. Fleet-wise, Aegean is still to receive five of the 17 A320s it currently has on order.
Analysis of Innovata schedule data for August 2012 and August 2013 reveals 13 non-stop routes that Aegean Airlines will no longer be operating this summer. Five of these are between Larnaca and Greek airports, while a further four are from Italian airports to Greek islands.
|Base airport||Destination (WF in August 2012)|
|Athens (ATH)||Kalamata (7), Kuwait (4)|
|Larnaca (LCA)||Chania (2), Heraklion (2), London Heathrow (7), Mykonos (1), Rhodes (3), Santorini (1)|
|Mykonos (JMK)||Milan Malpensa (2), Rome Fiumicino (1)|
|Santorini (JTR)||Milan Malpensa (3), Rome Fiumicino (2)|
|Thessaloniki (SKG)||Ekaterinburg (1)|
Flights up just 4% this summer, ASKs up 14%; Heathrow “mystery” solved
Although the airline recently referred to operating 158 international routes, this includes many routes only served as charter flights. According to Innovata data for the peak summer month of August, Aegean Airlines will be operating a total of 19 domestic routes and 61 international scheduled routes. Despite the addition of almost 30 new routes the total number of flights operated in August will be up just 4% compared with last August, seat capacity will be up 5%, and ASKs will be up a more significant 14%, reflecting the on-going shift to longer average sector lengths, driven by the decline in domestic traffic and increase in international routes.
As noted last week, one of the airline’s new routes is from Larnaca to London Gatwick, replacing the daily service to London Heathrow. The airline’s flights from Athens to London Heathrow have also been cut from four times daily to three. The explanation for this is that these additional Heathrow services were operated using slots leased to it by former fellow Star Alliance member bmi British Midland. Since bmi was bought by IAG, and been absorbed by British Airways, these slots were no longer available to the airline.