When, on May 28, 1999, the airline in the colors of the airline Aegean Airlines made the first cruise flight on the route between Athens and Heraklion, hardly anyone believed that the nascent company would succeed so much. After fifteen years that have passed since that day, Aegean Airlines is the largest Greek carrier, which without the slightest exaggeration can also be called one of the largest and fastest growing in companies in this region of Europe. Until now, aircraft of this airline have carried a total of 67 million passengers.
If you are interested in how this once-small carrier has become a real shark among European airlines, we invite you to read the full Aegean Airlines story, which you will find at the end of the article. The evolution of this company should become obligatory reading and inspiration for managers of other airlines.
Until recently, one of the main aircraft of these airlines was Boeing 737. After the acquisition of Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines authorities decided to standardize the machine park. The Boeing used so far has been replaced by the newly purchased Airbus A320 aircraft, which together with the aircraft taken from the Olympic lines constitute the current fleet of Aegean Airlines. At present, the average age of machines that fly in the colors of this carrier is 5.7 years.
We are always eager to use the services of these airlines. A relatively young fleet of aircraft whose appearance and cleanliness does not raise any objections is a big advantage of this carrier. So far, it has never happened that the flight we were taking with Aegean Airlines was delayed or postponed. Personally, we recommend these airlines. The only thing you can have a reservation is the quality of served catering, which could be more based on fresh ingredients.
Boeing 737-400 at the airport in Katowice
Despite the relatively short history of existence, this carrier boasts a relatively large number of prizes he has received. Below you will find a full list of all awards and distinctions granted to Aegean Airlines:
Initially, Aegean Airlines focused mainly on the carriage of passengers within Greece and on flights with so-called VIP passengers. Cruise connections were realized by two small Avro Rj-100 aircraft. At the end of 1999, Aegean Airlines bought the first private Greek airline company Air Greece. This step made it possible to significantly increase the share of the local transport market.
Avro RJ-100 aircraft in Aegean Airlines colors
Already two years later, Aegean Airlines is the initiator of another consolidation in the Greek air transport market. In the spring of 2001, Aegean airlines undertake close cooperation with Cronus. Initially, aircraft owned by this second carrier are flying under the common name of AEGEANCronus. However, at the end of this year, the merger of both companies was finally finalized, and all Cronus airline machines received new painting in line with Aegean Airlines colors.
In the following years, the company undertakes cooperation with several other European airlines, such aslike Lufthansa, British Midland International, Brussels Airlines, or Transportes Aéreos Portugueses - Air Portugal.
The next breakthrough step for Aegean Airlines took place in 2009, when this carrier, with the result of 6.6 million transported passengers, deposed its largest Greek competitor, the Olympic airline. During this period, Aegen Airlines clearly focused on the development of the international call network. The sealing of this period was the arrival of Aegean Airlines into the ranks of the largest Star Alliance air alliance.
Another important branch of activity at the time at Aegean Airlines is charter flights. Many travelers, including Poland, for the first time have encountered this carrier during holiday breaks to Greece. In 2010, the number of Aegean Airlines passengers flying on international routes was greater than the total number of people who were transported by the company on domestic routes.
Since 2010, speculations about the possible merger of the two largest Greek airlines have been increasingly frequent. The announcement of the consolidation of both companies seemed to determine the fate of the then-recognizable Aegean Airlines brand. Airplanes of the combined companies were to operate under the sign of Olympic Air. The European Commission's objection meant that these plans were not implemented. European officials were worried that the combined company would have a regional monopoly that would threaten the competitiveness of the market. The merger of both companies would only be possible if very restrictive conditions were met. One of them was to give the Aegean Airline brand to a potential competitor. The authorities of the Aegean airlines considered this condition inadmissible.
The constantly deteriorating financial condition of Olympic Air and the specter of possible bankruptcy of the company caused that already in 2011 the idea of combining both companies was revived. However, unlike 2010, the current merger has decidedly less partner-like effect, and Aegean Airlines acts as a buyer. Of course, the purchase of Olympic Air had to be approved by the European Commission, which did not look at it favorably.
On October 21, 2012, the Aegean Airlines authorities announced they had entered into a purchase agreement for Olympic Air for € 75 million (of which € 20 million was to be paid immediately). It was also announced that until the approval of this transaction by the European Commission, both carriers will act as separate brands. In the event that the European Commission does not accept the terms of the agreement, Aegean Airlines would become a shareholder of Olympic Air holding 17% of the company's shares.
On October 9, 2013, it became another historic date for Aegean Airlines. On that day, the European Commission issued the final consent for the sale of Olympic Air. The consolidation of both airlines will allow the creation of a single carrier, which employs a total of 2,400 employees and has 8 bases throughout Greece. According to the announcements, both brands are to be preserved, and Aegean Airlines is to play a dominant role. The carriers of this carrier are currently flying all long-distance aircraft that were owned by both companies. Olympic Air currently only serves flights within Greece, and the fleet of this carrier is fourteen turboprop machines Bombardier Dash 8.
Enter Air (IATA E4 code, ICAO: ENT) is a Polish and also one of the most popular charter airlines organizing transfers of tourists from our country to Greece. Currently, the vast majority of travel agencies offering leisure in Crete benefit from the services of this carrier.
Travel Service (IATA code - QS, ICAO - TVS or TVP) are private Czech airlines. Since 2009, this company has been systematically increasing its share in the total number of charter flights carried out from Polish airports. At the same time, it is one of the most popular carriers operating charter flights to Crete. Next to Enter Air is one of the main players offering this type of flights in our market.