ATHENS Dec 2 Greece's largest private carrier,
Aegean Airlines (AGNr.AT), said on Tuesday it will expand its
European routes next year despite the global downturn, adding it
has no interest in the privatisation of Olympic Airlines.
The airline, which has taken a lot of ailing state carrier
Olympic's [OLY.UL] market share in recent years, said it will
add flights to Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna and Venice by
next summer on new Airbus EAD.PA A320/321 aircraft.
Aegean's new destinations will complement its recently
launched service to Paris, London and Dusseldorf. It said its
fleet will number 21 Airbus jets by May as it will take delivery
of 10 more aircraft.
"We are implementing our business plan and the expansion of
our international network. Having followed a prudent course over
the years we have sound foundations to proceed with our growth
plans despite the economic slowdown," Aegean's Chief Executive,
Dimitris Gerogiannis, told reporters.
He said in the summer of 2009 Aegean's network will number
24 international routes, 23 domestic destinations with more than
200 flights daily.
Aegean is seeking permission from local authorities to begin
flights to Istanbul and Tel Aviv. It already flies to Cairo.
The carrier also announced a code sharing deal with Brussels
Airlines with flights to the Belgian capital from January.
Brussels Airlines with a fleet of 45 aircraft operates about 300
flights daily to European and African destinations.
Asked to comment on the privatisation of Olympic by the
Greek government, Gerogiannis said it would be a just another
"In every market where we fly there is competition, from low
cost to national carriers. Competition is a fact of life.
Olympic will be one more competitor," Gerogiannis said, adding
Aegean had no interest in the new Olympic.
"We took the decision to grow organically and not through
acquisitions," he said.
Greece expects non-binding bids for Olympic this month,
aiming to conclude the tender by January. The government split
the carrier into three units in September and launched tenders
to privatise them.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Andrew