Rising international traffic helps Aegean to half-year profit

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Aegean Airlines returned to profit in 2013's first half, reporting €16.4 million ($21.8 million) pre-tax earnings, which compares with a €48 million loss last year.

Revenue increased 22% from €229 million to €279 million.

The Greek carrier says the positive result was driven by the performance of its international network, together with cost management to offset the effect of falling domestic demand.

International traffic rose 11% to 1.6 million passengers while load factors rose seven percentage points to 76%. However, domestic traffic fell for a fifth year in a row, 5% to 1.15 million. Overall, traffic rose 3%.

"Increasing demand from incoming leisure is the main positive effect," says managing director Dimitris Gerogiannis. "Our strategy to invest in growing our international network from Athens and Greek regional airports has yielded positive results for our company and contributed to the country's tourism growth."

Gerogiannis says if European Commission approval for its planned merger with Olympic Air would allow Aegean to continue its international network growth into 2014.