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New Greek flights from BA

- by Jeremy Guest

British Airways flies to Santorini and Mykonos.

Flagship UK carrier British Airways is to launch scheduled flights to two popular Greek Island holiday destinations next year. The airline is to include direct flights to Greece's popular islands of Santorini and Mykonos from March 2014. Scheduled flights to both Greek islands will begin late March with services until late September 2014.

The new routes were announced at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London where the airline's marketing executives held a meeting with representatives from the Region of South Aegean and the Santorini Hotel Association.

Both Santorini and Mykonos have seen a huge growth in tourism this year with Santorini forecasting 20% increase on 2012 visitor numbers and an estimated 1.8 million tourists by the end of the 2013 holiday season.

Also announced at WTM were more details of how the Aegean Airlines acquisition of Olympic Air will affect tourist flights in Greece and the Greek Islands.

According to Aegean the airline is set to expand services both in Greece and abroad as the new company cashes in on the cost savings from the consolidation with estimated saving up to €35 million annually.

Aegean has already announced a new fare structure and the new fares will be offered to Olympic Air's passengers from February 2014.

Now the company has announced a package of initiatives to support the more remote areas of Greece and the Greek Islands with lower fares to boost demand.

Aegean Airlines also intend to offer new international destinations and new routes in 2014 with 15 new destinations from Athens early next year rising to 47 international flight destinations by the end of the year.

New routes include flight to Birmingham in the UK with other to France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Cyprus.

In 2014, 45 to 50 new routes will be added from the company's eight bases in Greece including the airline's new base in Chania, Crete.

Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air recently met representatives from 15 of the more remote Greek Islands a series of initiatives of air routes initiatives that include increasing in airline seat capacity to Naxos, Astypalea, Ikaria, Zakynthos, Skiathos, Karpathos and Kythira.

The European Commission competition authorities recently cleared the merger of the two Greek air carriers.