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Greek holiday airline expands

- by Archimedes

Greek holiday airline expands.

The growing Greek flier Aegean Airlines continues to expand with its new Larnaca (LCA) base, in Cyprus, launching two new seasonal routes to the Greek islands. At the end of last month the airline began operating twice-weekly flights to Rhodes (RHO) as well as two other weekly flights to Mykonos (JMK). Both new routes are using the popular A320 aircraft to ferry holiday passengers.

The Rhodes route is actually a relaunch as Aegean Airlines has operated the route once before – in 2008/9.

But the Larnaca – Mykonos service can be considered new as the airline has never operated this route as a regular service before.

The A320 aircraft will fly on both routes until the end of the summer Greek Islands holiday season in September.

In another major airline respositioning, Cyprus Airways is to form a strategic partnership with the Greek carrier Olympic Air. Cyprus Airways, the national carrier of Cyprus maintains a fleet of three A319s, five A320s and two A330-200s but has been struggling financially this year. The airline recently sold off two of its A320 aircraft.

Last autumn, the Cypriot government tried to merge Cyprus Airways with the state-owned charter carrier Eurocypria Airlines, but Eurocypria ceased operations in November 2010 before a deal could be done.

Cyprus Airways now has the biggest share of the Cyprus market with 21% of seats. Last August, the airline's share was 27%, despite competition from the now defunct Eurocypria and low-cost carrier Blue Air, which now has pulled out of its Larnaca base.

Cyprus Airways faces more competition from Aegean Airways, not only with the latter's expansion into Cyprus, but also from six new Greek routes and a daily service between Larnaca and London Heathrow.