Aegean Airlines is "probing" global alliance possibilities with a view to joining one of the networks by next March to let it launch international routes, having given up hope of co-operating with Greek carrier Olympic Airways.

The airline plans international expansion around the opening of the new Athens Spata Airport in March 2001, but general manager Antonis Simigdalas says this will only happen as part of a grouping. "We need to be in an alliance to allow us to grow further," he says.

Aegean has 36% of the domestic market after its recent take over of Air Greece and could provide valuable feed to major carriers. It has not chosen any international destinations yet, but aims to expand to the northwest and southeast.

Aegean, which serves 13 points, had hoped to grow in co-operation with Olympic, now run by British Airways' Speedwing consultancy, but the talks made no progress. "Olympic sees us as a threat, but we could be complementary, feeding their services," says Simigdalas.

Source: Flight International