Aegean-Cronus to enter charter sector early next year

Aegean-Cronus Airlines plans to enter the charter business in March, according to company President Theodoros Vassilakis. Speaking at an event of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE), of which he is vice president, he said the company has finalized deals with big foreign operators in order to meet the projected demand for seats during the next tourist season. The deals mainly concern the four big markets of Italy, France, Germany and UK. The recently consolidated company has had little activity in the charter sector to date. Vassilakis estimates that the new activity will boost turnover by about 20 percent. Referring to other matters, Vassilakis lashed out at the various high charges for users of Athens’s new Eleftherios Venizelos airport. Citing an example, he said that from a ticket which is sold for 26,500, the company derives a gross profit of only 9,700 drachmas, or 36 percent of the fare price. A total of 16,800 drachmas goes to pay VAT, the special airport levy, passenger levy, insurance premium, airport user levy, travel agents’ commission and booking system charges. According to Vassilakis, this whole array of charges and levies make price of tickets for internal flights among the highest in Europe. Without them, fare prices are among the lowest, he added. He urged the government to adopt immediate measures, emphasizing that a further gain of 5,000 drachmas for operators would go a long way in extricating the air transport sector from the crisis accentuated as a result of the September 11 attacks in America. AIA said the measures targeted at smaller aircraft and poorly trafficked routes will strengthen Athens’s ambitions of becoming a regional hub for Southeastern Europe.

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