Aegean looks to play greater role in former Yugoslavia

Greece’s Aegean Airlines has markets in the former Yugoslavia firmly on its radar with the carrier announcing the launch of flights between Skopje and Sarajevo yesterday, with another regional route likely to follow. As reported by EX-YU Aviation News back in April, the Greek flag carrier will double its frequnecies on the Athens – Skopje service from three to six weekly starting September 29, leaving a ten-hour turnaround time between the outbound and inbound service, enabling it to introduce additional flights inbetween. Potential additions, if Aegean seeks to introduce more destinations from Skopje, include the likes of Podgorica and Sofia, with the Macedonian government recently negotiationg with its counterparts from both Montenegro and Bulgaria over potential services.

Aegean has expanded its operations throughout the former Yugoslavia this year, with the introduction of seasonal flights between Athens and Ljubljana, which will run until October 13, as well as regular weekly charter flights from the Greek capital to Banja Luka. In addition, the airline has upgraded capacity on its Athens – Podgorica flights from the ATR72-600 tubroprop to the Airbus A320 over the peak summer months. Furthremore, Aegean plans to upgrade its seasonal Athens – Zagreb flights to year-round operations. The Greek carrier could still make use of a public call issued to airlines by the Slovenian government to introduce servces from the country in return for subsidies, while a simmilar tender is set to take place for operations out of Sarajevo in the near future.
The Greek carrier recently said it was looking to strengthen its role in Southeastern Europe. The airline purchased a 51% stake in Romania’s Animawings in 2021 and late last year said it was eyeing other acquisitions in the region. Aegean Airlines recently noted it was continuing to look into opportunities of aligning itself closer with Croatia Airlines, which could potentially lead to a strategic partnership between the two Star Alliance members. Commenting on its operations, Aegean Airlines said, “The former Yugoslav region is an important market for Aegean Airlines. Demand for these routes remain strong as passengers are able to travel to Athens and beyond. Our performance is satisfactory on these markets, as is the cooperation we have with partner airlines in the region. Almost all flights from the former Yugoslav republics to Athens offer very good point to point coverage, as well as access to Greek domestic destinations, connections to Cyprus and destinations in the Middle East, which have proved popular with passengers from the Balkan region”.

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