Point of view Eftichios Vassilakis
Vice-Chairman, Aegean Airlines
How would you define Aegean Airlines?
We were created to be a carrier that promotes the country and offers a quality experience. We realized early on that the greatest opportunity was to be found not by being a low-cost carrier but a high-quality one. Olympic Airlines used to have a great reputation, but it had deteriorated by the time that Aegean was created. Ultimately, we ended up buying Olympic and now we are a group. This is very different from most European countries, where the previous state carrier is still there and is competing with new low-cost carriers. In Greece’s case, the void was quality.
How would you evaluate the recent transfer of the 14 regional airports to Fraport, and thus the privatization of the airports?
The great news is that the international group managing the privatization is not allowed to increase the cost of the airports unless they first improve the quality of the airports; it’s the first privatization or BOT in Greece where this is taking place. Overall, I see it as is a very welcome development and we are looking forward to an extremely positive progression with Fraport and the other operators.
What role do you attribute to public-private collaboration in boosting Greece’s tourism sector?
EV In terms of communication, I believe we’ve all realized in the tourism sector that we have the companies and products to promote Greece. If we all pool our resources – hoteliers, airlines, other private sector companies, cities and regions – we can definitely have more effective campaigns. This is exactly what we are trying to do in Athens through our different initiatives.