AIRLINE INDUSTRY

Aegean: We’re past the worst

aegean-we-re-past-the-worst

Aegean Airlines has reverted to positive cash flows in the last few months, after burning between 18 and 20 million euros over the first quarter of this year and some €280 million in 2020.

The prospects of the Greek flag carrier appear improved compared to the same period in 2020, but this is not expected to emerge anytime soon in the financial results, so the second quarter is likely to remain loss-making for the airline.

The increase of the vaccination rate is key to the revival of air transport in Greece and Europe, as was the introduction as of July of the EU Digital Covid Certificate for coronavirus-free passengers.

As Aegean chairman Eftichios Vassilakis told the company’s annual general shareholders meeting, sales and advance bookings of tickets in June and July for the following months have ranged at about 70-75% of record season 2019. Such figures match Aegean’s activity target for this year, which means 75-80% of the flights two years ago; however, as Vassilakis pointed out, in the year’s first few months – when it normally pre-sells summer tickets – it did not have any stock of pre-sold fares.

Consequently, Vassilakis said, at least for July, the carrier will show quite lower seat occupancy rates than in 2019, although the outlook is improved: “The hardest part of the crisis is gone. One has to be cautious in forecasts, as reality has often proven them wrong, but I believe that we are at least past the worst. With some difficulty and uncertainty, we shall continue at a steady pace,” said the Aegean head.

In general, in terms of demand by consumers and interest from foreign air companies, Greece is showing one of the highest recovery rates across Europe, with Aegean chief executive Dimitris Gerogiannis saying demand is constantly shifting, although there is a clearly positive momentum for this country.

“Until June 2021 we relied on our own cash flow, that was never below €400 million, until we received the state support,” he told shareholders.