Aegean Airlines has announced a three-tier growth strategy for 2011 that will see it add new foreign destinations, offer more frequent flights to major...

Aegean Airlines has announced a three-tier growth strategy for 2011 that will see it add new foreign destinations, offer more frequent flights to major existing destinations to bolster the airline’s competitive position, and operate new direct international services from Greek regional destinations to support tourism.

For its summer schedule, Aegean Airlines will launch flights from Athens to Moscow and Bologna. The Greek carrier will also begin flying from Thessaloniki to Moscow and Paris.

At the same time, Aegean will establish a base at Larnaca in Cyprus and offer direct flights from there to London Heathrow, as well as to Greek destinations Heraklion, Rhodes, Chania, Kos, Mykonos and Santorini.

The company will also increase its service frequency from Athens to London/Heathrow from two flights a day to four. Service frequency on Aegean’s Athens-Rome route will rise from two daily flights to three, while the carrier will increase frequency on its Athen-Paris Charles de Gaulle service from one to three flights a day.

Although it won awards in 2009 and 2010 in the huge, global Skytrax annual passenger-satisfaction survey for being Europe's best regional airline, Greece's Aegean Airlines mainly operates Airbus A320s and A321s. Aegean now is Greece's largest airline and in May 2010 becomes a full member of the Star Alliance

Aegean Airlines will also increase frequency on its Athens-Brussels route from one flight a day to two. Athens-Barcelona will go from daily service to 10 flights a week, as will the carrier’s Athens-Madrid route.

The airline says it is placing great importance is placed on enhancing direct connections from Thessaloniki, with Aegean offering 18 domestic and international routes from the city and the carrier basing five of its Airbus A320-family jets there.

In its summer schedule Aegean Airlines will be operating a total of 35 domestic and 24 international routes, not including a substantial number of additional destinations served by six of the company’s aircraft on a charter basis.

“We are moving ahead on a steady course with deliberate steps, despite the extremely difficult circumstances,” says Dimitris Gerogiannis, Aegean Airlines’ managing director. “We are offering new options, opening up new strategic international markets like Russia, creating direct overseas connections to several Greek cities, [and] utilizing our presence and personnel in major international markets in the best way possible.’

Adds Gerogiannis: “Despite our increased attention abroad, the domestic network continues to constitute the core of Aegean’s network, since it allows us to meet the primary and fundamental demand of the Greek public, but at the same time it is what fuels our international network.”

Aegean’s summer flight schedule includes the following new flights:

● Athens-Moscow: four flights weekly, from April 29;
● Athens-Bologna: three flights weekly;
● Thessaloniki-Moscow: four flights weekly, from April 29;
● Thessaloniki-Paris: three flights weekly;
● Larnaca – London Heathrow: 1 flight daily
● Larnaca-Heraklion: three flights a week, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays;
● Larnaca-Rhodes: two flights a week, from June 24 until September 4;
● Larnaca-Mykonos: two flights a week, from June 25 until September 10;
● Larnaca-Santorini: one flight a week, from June 28 until September 6;
● Larnaca-Chania: one flight a week, from June 29 until August 31; and
●Larnaca-Kos: one flight a week, from July 19 until August 30.

The carrier’s summer schedule also includes the following increases in service frequency:

● Athens-London Heathrow: from two to four daily flights;
● Athens-Paris Charles de Gaulle: from one to three daily flights;
● Athens-Rome: from two to three daily flights;
● Athens-Brussels: from one to two daily flights;
● Athens-Madrid: from seven to 10 flights a week;
● Athens-Barcelona: from sevean to 10 flights a week;
● Athens-Tel Aviv: Capacity increase through the use of 195-seat Airbus A321s;
● Athens-Venice: from three to four weekly flights; and
● Larnaca to Thessaloniki: nine to 11 flights in total weekly.

Aegean will operate all these flights with new Airbus A230s and A321s, featuring 168 and 195 seats respectively in dual-class configuration and offering an in-flight entertainment system with six music channels and a movie for all passengers on flights to and from London, Paris and Brussels.