But this new startup airline is planning on taking on the flag carrier of Greece, Aegean Airlines, right on their home turf.
What are the details?
It will begin with a fleet consisting of two Airbus A340 aircraft and four Airbus A319 aircraft. It seems that unlike other startups (such as Bamboo or Moxy), Athens Spirit will be using older aircraft (and much less fuel efficient, especially the A340 with its four engines) to operate.
Despite being founded back in 2017, the new airline has only now just applied for an airline certificate from the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority.
It has been founded by a consortium of private Greek investors, headed by Dimitris Vasilios Dorizas as managing director. Whilst that name might not ring a bell, Dimitris was actually the manager of Olympic Airways where he worked for 16 years. He also attempted to launch an airline in the past, called Sky Greece Airlines, in 2015. It flew with one Boeing 767 but wrapped up before the end of the year. Perhaps he has learned that more planes are needed this go around.
The airline plans to launch its first flights as soon as April this year.
Will it be successful?
The Greek aviation space is a challenging one.
On one hand, you have the state carrier, Aegean Airlines. With 153 destinations, 15 million passengers and is a star alliance member, they are dominating the local market. In 2017, Aegean made 60 million euros profit after tax. Additionally, they are currently upgrading and expanding their fleet to 70 brand new Airbus neo aircraft.
On the other hand, there are plenty of small start-ups operating niche spaces in Greece. Ellinair operates a fleet of ten aircraft and will focus on routes between Greece and Russia for holidaymakers in the summer. Another example is Sky Express, with twelve turboprop aircraft they fill an important domestic niche.
But it seems that Athens Spirit wants the whole pie. With those A340’s they certainly will have the range and the capacity to open up some lucrative passenger routes, if the price of fuel doesn’t affect them. If we were to make a prediction, it is likely the might go the low-cost route like Norwegian or Ryanair, with a focus to bring tourists to the amazing Greek islands for as cheap as possible.
Lastly, we want to point out they are planning on flying by April, but don’t have a fleet yet confirmed, no routes yet or even a company logo (to our knowledge). With their set date only two months away, that does seem a little unrealistic.
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