With almost air traffic shut down during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Aegean Airlines – which won’t give refunds for canceled flights – said it needs some kind of aid to return to profitability.
Citing the crisis, the European Union is waiving rules generally barring state aid to vital companies, Board Chairman Eftychios Vassilakis told investors in a conference call that, “You cannot afford to be one of the very few airlines in Europe that have not been helped.”
That was in an apparent reference to the issue of potential government help but he wouldn’t spell it out exactly that way while he said Greece’s largest carrier will in 2020 have its worst year since being founded in 1999.
EU law requires airlines to give passengers refunds for canceled flights but Aegean is issuing only vouchers so far for future possible flights with no time limit yet set nor what would happen if the flights weren’t taken.
Aegean, a member of the Star Alliance airline group, suspended international flights on March 26 but will restart flights to some European destinations by the end of May.
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Aegean, which flew a record 15 million passengers last year, expects to increase operations to around 50% by September from 25% in July, under a best-case scenario, he said, according to a report by the news agency -.
Revenue in the first quarter, which started strong but suffered from a “disastrous” March, will be down 15% to around 145 million euros ($158.52 million,), leading to a pretax loss of about 80 million ($87.47 million) said a report by Kathimerini.
Vassilakis said that increasing operations to about 75%-80% could be possible next year, and, if achieved, would be a high enough level of activity to allow Aegean to compete in Europe but it wasn’t explained what would happen if no state aid is given.
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