October 9, 2017 / 1:27 PM / a year ago

Greek airline Aegean to add new routes, fleet decision by year-end

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s largest carrier Aegean Airlines will add 11 new routes in 2018 and choose between Airbus and Boeing planes by the end of this year to renew its fleet, executives said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: An Aegean Airlines aircraft takes off from the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis/File Photo

Aegean, which currently operates mostly Airbus narrow body jets, is evaluating the new generation Airbus A320neo family and Boeing’s 737MAX to renew its fleet of 60 aircraft, as most of its leases need to be replaced between 2019 and 2023.

“We will need to make a long-term $2.5-$3.0 billion investment decision in the coming months,” Vice Chairman Eftyhis Vassilakis told reporters.

The Aegean Airlines customer service kiosk is seen at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, Greece, May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

He said the company, a member of the Star Alliance airline group, had been in talks with Airbus and Boeing since the summer to pick the type of aircraft that will form the core of its fleet. It currently operates 46 Airbus A320 jets.

“By the end of the year we will make our choice, it will be an investment that will follow us for the next 15 years,” Vassilakis said.

Riding on a strong tourism year, Aegean will expand its fleet with three new aircraft next year.

It will also fly to 11 new destinations, including Basel in Switzerland, Malaga in Spain and Palermo, Turin and Bologna in Italy, executives said.

Aegean’s passenger traffic will grow to 13 million this year from 8.8 million in 2013 when the carrier acquired state-run Olympic Airlines. The airline expects to carry around 15 million passengers a year by 2023.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Mark Potter

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