A new airline dubbed “Athens Spirit” hopes to take on powerful and profitable Aegean Airlines in Greece. My initial response: good luck. Wait till you hear the details…
The airline wants to offer low-cost service within Greece and to limited international destinations using a fleet of two Airbus A340 aircraft and four Airbus A319. Yes, that’s right, while Aegean is acquiring highly-efficient Airbus A320neos, Athens Spirit will use gas-guzzling four engine A340s. Now that makes a lot of sense.
The airline was founded last in 2017 but only recently applied for an operating certificate from the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority. While the airline hopes to launch flights in April this year, no routes have been announced and the carrier does not have a website.
The managing director of the new airline is Dimitris Vasilios Dorizas, who spent 16 years at ill-fated Olympic Airways. Dorizas also was involved in another airline start-up, Sky Greece Airlines, which folded after less than one year in business. Sky Greece had only a single 767 and operated between Toronto and Athens.
A Slim Chance Of Success
With Olympic Airways bust, its a unipolar world in Greek aviation and Aegean Airlines is simply dominating. The Greek flag carrier boasts:
- 153 destinations
- 15 million passengers per year
- 60 million euros profit (after tax)
- Young, modern fleet
- Star Alliance membership
More importantly, it enjoys the backing of the Greek state. It’s not that there is no room for competition. But the competition better be efficient.
My title makes reference to Spirit Airlines in the USA. In order to compete with an effective low-cost model, a low cost structure is needed. I’m not sure how that is possible in the case of “Athens Spirit” and don’t predict the airline will ever take off, let alone in April.
Do you think there is room in the Greek aviation market for Athens Spirit?