ECONOMY

Air routes draw major interest

No fewer than six airline companies have placed bids for the 24 subsidized domestic air routes that the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority will allocate for the next four years (2013-16).

The deadline for the bids was Wednesday and the interest that emerged beat all expectations, which is likely to save the state significant amounts of money when it auctions off these public services routes.

Olympic Air will enter the tender for 14 routes, Minoan Airlines tabled a bid for 11, Aegean Airlines will bid for eight, Astra Airlines and Sky Express for six each, and Aeroland for two.

The commission staging the international tender will assess the bids and determine whether they will enter the final stage of the tender process.

Routes include the services from Athens to island airports such as Samos, Chios, Leros, Milos, Naxos, Karpathos, Skiathos, Kalymnos, Icaria, Astypalaia, Skyros and Kythera, as well as flights from the northern port city of Thessaloniki to Corfu, Kalamata, Chios, Samos and Skyros, and from Rhodes to other islands in the Dodecanese.