A new carrier, Cretan Airways, is to enter the deregulated Greek airline market, offering high-end services to Crete. Cretan - to be based in the island's 'capital', Iraklion - will employ two 70-seat ATR 72 regional turboprops from the end of this month.

Unlike other privately owned Greek carriers, the new entrant will seek to avoid direct confrontation with flag-carrier Olympic Airways, and may eventually provide feed to it. This positioning could see it compete with Greek number two, Aegean Airlines of Athens, which recently merged with Air Greece, itself based at Iraklion.

Cretan's president will be Constantinos Badouvas, a native Cretan and former president of Air Greece, who quit the latter when shipping company Minoan Lines, agreed to sell it to Aegean. The new regional's chief executive will be Petros Kalogerakis and its vice-president Georgios Alexakis.

Cretan hopes to exploit the island's large tourist market, and is stressing its credentials as "Crete's carrier" in a bid to attract local private and institutional investors.

Source: Flight International