Aegean trims losses in first quarter

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Greek carrier Aegean Airlines points to its strengthening international operations after narrowing first quarter pre-tax losses to €8.2 million ($10.6 million).

The loss marked an improvement on the €31.2 million it lost at the same stage last year. Net losses were also cut from €25 million to just over €1 million. Revenues were 11% higher at €115.9 million,

The carrier cites an improved performance on its international route, helping to lift load factors five points to 70.5%. Passenger numbers were up 7% to 585,000 on international routes, while domestic traffic fell 13%. It notes average fares were 9% down, a fifth consecutive year of decline reflecting the troubled Greek economy.

"Our international network gradually matures allowing us to at least partially cover the loss from declining domestic demand and activity," says Aegean managing director Dimitris Gerogiannis. "We will continue to invest on strengthening our international network by cautiously adding more destinations."

The airline is in the middle of a fresh attempt to merge with Greek's second largest airline, Olympic Air. European Commission competition regulators blocked an original merger attempt and are currently considering the fresh move. "We look forward to the economies of scale from the acquisition of Olympic Air so as to strengthen our competitiveness and be able to secure a growth path for our company as well as our ability to support Greek tourism," says Gerogiannis.