Starting Friday, March 9, Aegean Airlines will offer non-stop service between Athens and Budapest, the political and cultural capital of Hungary. Aegean will connect...

Despite the tough economic environment in Greece, Aegean Airlines is continuing to expand its international network.

Starting Friday, March 9, Aegean Airlines will offer non-stop service between Athens and Budapest, the political and cultural capital of Hungary. Aegean will connect Athens to Budapest with four round-trips a week.

The aircraft will depart every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from from Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (IATA code ATH) at 9:15 a.m. and will return from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) at 11:05 a.m. local time on the same days.

Aegean Airlines will operate its Athens-Budapest service with Airbus A320s, configured to seat 168 people in two-class configuration.

Although it won an award in 2009 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 became a full member of the Star Alliance

The airline’s in-flight service on the route will offer all passengers a complimentary full meal and an in-flight entertainment system with six music channels. Business class passengers will be able to enjoy improved seat comfort, a choice of meals and Greek wines, as well espresso or cappuccino.

Aegean says its flight schedule on the route is designed to offer connections Budapest passengers connnections to and from the rest of Greece.

“We are facing a winter season with the lowest demand during Aegean Airline’s lifetime, a sharp rise in fuel prices and uncharacteristically and unnecessarily high airport fees and taxes in Athens determined by the Greek state,” remarks Dimitris Gerogiannis, managing director of Aegean Airlines.

Adds Gerogiannis: “We have already made adjustments to our overall planning, due to low demand, but at the same remain vigilant and respond to opportunities that are compatible with our company strategy and meet the demands of the Greek tourism product.”

Aegean Airlines is a member of Star Alliance and the largest Greek carrier, carrying 6.5 million passengers in 2011, 3.52 million of those on its international network.

As a Star Alliance member, Aegean offers its passengers connectivity to 1,290 destinations in the Star Alliance network in 189 countries. Also, the airline’s Miles & Bonus frequent-flyer program members holders can earn and use their mileage points to all the destinations of the 27 members of the Star Alliance. Additionally, passengers who are Gold Card holders have access to 990 lounges and other privileges around the world.

The carrier says that, throughout its 13-year history, Aegean has strove to combine business development with contribution to the country’s growth, progress and to the evolution of its people. In the last 10 years, Aegean and its passengers have contributed  more than €1 billion to Greek state revenues. In 2011, Aegean paid the Greek state €172 million in taxes.

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