Aegean Airlines began scheduled passenger operations with 2 brand new jet aircraft operations in May 1999, following the liberalisation of the Greek domestic market. The strategy of the company at its inception and to date is to provide full service, premium quality short and medium haul scheduled services. In December 1999, expanding rapidly Aegean bought Air Greece while in 2001 the company merged with Greek carrier Cronus Airlines which also marked its entry in international routes. Following its increasing acceptance by its customers by 2005 Aegean reached 50% domestic market share. November 2005 was also the time of two other extremely important milestones; Aegean reached an agreement with Lufthansa to become its partner in Greece and another one with Airbus to fully renew its fleet with 27 new A320 family aircraft. After four years of profitable operation Aegean was listed on the Athens stock exchange in July 2007, raising additional funds to support for fleet and network development. Finally, in 2009 through its gradual expansion of its international network, and its consistent delivery of high quality services it became the largest Greek airline.
Within its ten year scheduled services history AEGEAN has been awarded six times by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) in recognition of its operating performance, commercial success and commitment to customer comfort and satisfaction. Additionally, AEGEAN has been repeatedly awarded by the Athens International Airport as the single largest contributor to the airport's passenger growth. AEGEAN received the Skytrax World Airline award as the best regional airline in Europe for 2009.
AEGEAN operates 53 domestic and international routes with more than 200 daily flights. It bases aircraft in Athens and Thessaloniki for scheduled operations as well as in Heraklion to serve its non-scheduled "charter" operations in cooperation with major Tour Operators.
The carrier currently offers scheduled and non-scheduled services. In 2009, Aegean carried 6.6m passengers, up 10% from 2008. The airline currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft.
As of the summer 2009, the Company's scheduled services fleet (5 of the 30 are used for charter operations on behalf of TO's) has been fully renewed with brand new Airbus A320/321, and currently has an average fleet age of 2 years which is one of youngest in Europe. Aegean's management believe the fleet renewal and improvement process will help to further increase the airline's customer appeal in terms of punctuality, service and comfort, as well as increasing seat capacity per flight.
Looking ahead, the management of Aegean Airlines intends to pursue focused international expansion, intending to gradually complete its Western and Central European network while also pursuing selected extra EU routes as it gains access to bilateral agreements. As the network expands Aegean is also targeting to increase cooperation agreements with other full service airline partners that can create commercial synergies. Cost management and productivity improvements especially in fleet related and distribution related elements are also in focus as the fleet renewal process is completed. Finally, customer service innovation and improvements, especially in terms of simplifying customer processes or creating additional loyalty benefits are being currently introduced.
Aegean has been accepted and is in the process of joining STAR ALLIANCE, the strongest alliance in the world.