The outlook for the 2022 tourism season appears particularly positive, barring any new external crisis factors, Aegean Airlines Chairman Eftichios Vassilakis told analysts on Tuesday, with the summer quarter expected to come mighty close to the figures posted in 2019.
Addressing a video conference, the head of Greece’s biggest carrier estimated that the desire to travel has made a dynamic return, and once the war in Ukraine stops, bookings will become even stronger.
According to the data he presented, the airline’s flying activity may have been reduced by 30% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in record year 2019, but the shortfall from three years ago will shrink to 18% over the April-June quarter and drop to just 5% in the year’s third quarter, which is always the season’s most important. Therefore the objective is for activity to remain close to the performance of the year before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.
The carrier intends to offer between 15 million and 16.2 million seats over the whole year, as well as offering 15 destinations from Athens. Its target will be to achieve a load factor (i.e. the ratio of ticket sales per seats offered) amounting to 75% of that seen in 2019.
Aegean has already seen ticket sales hit 80-82% of the 2019 figures, with the airline’s cash flow breaking even as early as mid-February, compared to May last year.
In comparison with the year before the pandemic, the estimated availability of seats by all airlines, domestic and foreign, in Greece is expected to grow between 7% and 10% over this summer season. That increase is expected to be even greater as far as the Greek islands are concerned, possibly as high as 15%, while in Athens and Thessaloniki it is projected to come to 10%.
Interestingly, Aegean anticipates that the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine will be rather limited for the airline, as its estimates point to a reduction in revenues amounting to 30 million euros for the entire year.