ECONOMY

Aegean Cronus to spread its wings from October 28

Privately owned Aegean Cronus Airlines said yesterday it will be flying to three new destinations abroad and also launching a new Thessaloniki-Hania route for the winter program beginning October 28. The airline will be offering thrice-weekly direct flights to Dusseldorf and Stuttgart from Athens and twice-weekly direct flights to Dusseldorf from the northern Greek city of Kavala. There will also be two flights a week between Thessaloniki and Hania. Aegean Cronus Airlines spokeswoman Roula Saloutsi told Kathimerini English Edition that the schedule changes had been in the pipeline for a month and a half. We thought it worthwhile to launch new routes to Germany, she said. The company also took Paris off the winter program and reduced the frequency of flights to certain popular tourist islands. Aegean Cronus’s decision to boost its itineraries comes in sharp contrast to national flag carrier Olympic Airways, which is reportedly planning to trim its international routes, in particular transatlantic destinations which have seen a sharp fall in passenger traffic after September 11. OA has yet to unveil its winter program, while state plans to offload the company to a private investor have fallen behind schedule. Aegean Cronus’s Saloutsi said the company has seen passenger volume fall by some 15 percent in the last week. She said a combination of factors, namely the global economic crisis, the negative passenger psychology relating to the attacks in the US and the end of the summer holidays have all contributed to the decline. But Saloutsi said the slump dates back to April, with high spatosima (airport development tax) charges at the newly opened Eleftherios Venizelos airport at Spata deterring Greeks from flying. Aegean Cronus’s winter itinerary includes daily flights to Rome, London, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart via Thessaloniki, and Thessaloniki to Munich. It will also offer flights to Frankfurt four times a week from Athens and thrice-weekly flights from Kavala to Stuttgart. It announced the launch of a business class for international flights to attract more corporate passengers. A further crucial task is the development and application of the implementation mechanisms of the European-Union subsidized third Community Support Framework investment plan. The government is determined not to fritter away the 17-trillion-drachma program, which runs until 2006.