Greek carrier Aegean Airlines reported a 2018 first-half net loss of €13.8 million ($16 million), narrowed from a net loss of €20 million in 1H 2017.

Consolidated revenue was up 1% year-over-year (YOY) to €455.7 million. Operating cash flow strengthened to €163.2 million from €127.4 million YOY.

Aegean Airlines CEO Dimitris Gerogiannis said the airline further improved load factors and passenger volumes, and continues to expand capacity and optimize its network “despite substantial competitive capacity increases. Tourism demand for Greece continues to develop and is supportive but substantially seasonal,” he said.

Aegean and its subsidiary Olympic Air carried 5.9 million passengers in 1H, up 7% YOY. ASKs increased 2.5%. Average number of passenger per flight rose 7% to 123.

International passenger traffic rose 8% YOY to 3.3 million. Domestic traffic was up 5% YOY to 2.7 million.

The Star Alliance member reported an overall load factor of 81.7%, up from 79.2%. International traffic from Athens International Airport, the carrier’s main hub, grew 13%, with the company initiating 11 new international destinations from the Greek capital.

“We continue to develop our product … most importantly we are now committed to the Airbus A320neo family, which will bring additional efficiency, range and improved service possibilities to our customers,” Gerogiannis said.

The group added three A321ceos in the 1H. On June 22, Aegean finalized an order for 30 A320neo family aircraft, comprising 10 A321neos and 20 A320neos.

“The outlook for the third quarter, which substantially determines full-year results, remains positive, despite competitive capacity increases. Higher fuel prices will continue to affect our costs, only partly mitigated by our fuel hedging policy,” Gerogiannis said.

Aegean and Olympic Air carried 13.2 million passengers in 2017. The 2018 network covers 153 destinations (31 domestic and 122 international) in 44 countries.

On Sept. 4, Aegean announced the suspension of its Athens-Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport route, effective Oct. 11, until further notice, because of foreign exchange bank restrictions that affect its viability.

Kurt Hofmann