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KLM and Olympic Air start cooperation

16 September 2011 / 18:09:21  GRReporter
3784 reads

Victoria Mindova 

Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Hamburg, Glasgow, Manchester, Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm are the eight new destinations that Olympic Air will be able to carry after the deal for cooperation with the Royal Dutch airline, KLM. From September 20 and on travelers who are interested in a connection between the Greek capital and cities in central and northwestern Europe can travel from Athens with a choice of three flights per day. Last year, KLM has carried over 200,000 passengers to and from Greece and this fall this number may increase because Olympic opened for the Dutch Airlines, in turn, eight internal destinations - Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli, Chania, Heraklion, Rhodes, Kos, Ioanena and Santorini. 

Despite the joyful news that passengers from Athens will be able to choose from three different flights per day to fly to Amsterdam, the distribution of bread between Olympic and Aegean could not have been left aside. After the failure of the planned merger early this year, airfares in Greece rose significantly. The official position of the two airlines is that they have given up the until recently carried destinations because they were unprofitable and as a sign of goodwill and almost of patriotism they have given them to the competitive Greek company to preserve the national identity of the destination. The first thought that goes through the mind of the average Greek is that the two companies quietly separated their destinations to and from Athens, despite the refusal of the European Competitiveness Commission to approve a possible merger. 

According to the management of Olympic Air, air travel in Greece is higher because the level of airport charges and taxes to third parties has a particularly large share in the formation of the price for the end-user. Evidence suggests that for a one-way ticket the additional charge on the gross value of tickets is VAT at 40% and for a two-way ticket this charge is 25%. We must note that these additional fees and taxes apply on goods and services from other sectors of the economy that still comply with the problems of the current crisis and provide more competitive prices. 

Olympic Air CEO Yannis Karakadas said that the opening of new destinations is good for Greek travelers and generally for tourism in the country and expectation is to double the number of tourists who travel from northern Europe. Although reports of the Union of Greek hoteliers who show that the tourist flow this year has increased by about 15 percent, statistics by Olympic Air show reduced passenger flow for the company in 2011. Karakadas defined this year as a period for regrouping and suggested that before the summer 2012 the company plans to announce new extensions. For now, the Russian market remains intact and analysts estimate that this is a niche market in which Greek airlines have to enter as quickly as possible. 

Whatever plans the Greek airlines make, local air transport is being threatened by other problems. One of them is the position of Greek air traffic controllers, who say that layoffs in the public sector should not affect their profession, because this threatens the quality of airport services in the country. Supporting the position of the Greek air traffic controllers are also their colleagues from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation Eurocontrol, who stressed that the Greek state abuses the airline revenue. "Money from the airlines are being stolen from the government and are not directed there where they are intended, namely in the areas of education personnel, maintenance and introduction of new technologies. The new austerity measures will not be able to maintain a high level of security. We fear for Greece," said the representative of the international and European Union air traffic controllers, Frederick de Lo. 

To be continued. 

Tags: KLM Olympic Air Aegean air ticket prices airplane Greece
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