Aegean has reported a 12 per cent growth in passenger traffic for the first quarter of 2018, welcoming 2.4 million passengers on board its flights.
The Greek carrier and low-cost subsidiary Olympic Air carried 1.1 million passengers on domestic flights, a nine per cent growth compared to the same period in 2017.
At the same time, passengers carried on international flights increased by 16 per cent to 1.3 million.
Load factor improved to 81.2 per cent from 76.8 per cent in the respective 2017 period.
Traffic from the main base in Athens rose by 13 per cent, compared to the overall growth of eight per cent reported by the airport.
Aegean supported and developed the number of destinations served during the low winter season and delivered an 18 per cent growth in international traffic from Athens but also a nine per cent growth in domestic traffic.
Aegean invests consistently on developing its network during the winter months, targeting the much-needed extension of the tourism season.
Following the experience of more than six years gained with international flights operated from Kalamata in cooperation with Costa Navarino, Aegean has expanded its winter operations to include international flights from Heraklion, Crete.
Dimitris Gerogiannis, chief executive of Aegean, commented: “The higher utilisation of the tourism capacity during the winter months is vital not just for our company but for the country as well.
“It requires creativity, joint efforts and business risk which often come at an initial cost, so as Greece can gradually achieve the success of countries like Portugal on developing its tourism product during the winter months.
“From our part, each and every year we strive to improve and go one step further, as we know that this is the only way that we can continue to see investments in our country in new quality tourist resorts, infrastructure projects and of course new and efficient aircraft fleet.
“However, the necessary policy adjustments should also be in place: VAT in air transport has increased to 24 per cent, being three times higher than the average of Southern Europe, newly imposed accommodation tax on hotels and the total absence of low incentivised airport charges during the winter season, put at risk all of the previously mentioned efforts.
“The immediate adjustment of these policies and the more efficient and on a seasonally adjusted basis implementation is considered of high importance.”