Six new destinations that will also be maintained in the winter flight schedule, as well as the strengthening of the permanent staff base in Thessaloniki with the creation of a remote call center, mark Aegean’s investment in the city and its dynamic development, according to what was presented by CEO of the airline Dimitris Gerogiannis, speaking in the topic section “Transportation and Smart Mobility“, co-organized by the Hellenic-Italian Chamber and TIF-Helexpo, in the framework of the Thessaloniki Helexpo Forum.
“In the summer we added six new destinations and three new countries to Thessaloniki. In Germany, with which we already connected Thessaloniki with six destinations, we added Berlin and Hamburg. We added Italy – direct connections to Rome and Milan, Switzerland to Zurich and Belgium to Brussels. These destinations will remain in the winter as well, which shows our commitment to the development of Thessaloniki and the upgraded role that the city already has and we all want to see it expand“, pointed out Mr. Gerogiannis.
The managing director of Aegean recalled that the company took advantage of the upgrade of the Thessaloniki airport and its improved functionality, investing in the creation of a new business class lounge, while he then referred to the investment in the city’s human resources.
“In Thessaloniki we have always had a permanent employment base, from cabin crews, captains and co-pilots, an engineering base which we strengthened this summer and continue to strengthen as we develop more activity. In addition to this base of people we had in Thessaloniki, we are also adding a remote call center, we did a campaign and hired people who live in Thessaloniki, to work from home as if they were in our call center in Athens,” he noted, noting that “the young people we saw and those we finally selected are really exceptional cases and possess not only knowledge and experience but professionalism, willingness to work and soul”. He expressed the will “to be able to expand this step gradually, to make it a part of our overall presence in the city».
Key to Greek air shipping is human resources
With regard to smart transport and the necessary interventions for the structural problems of air transport, Mr. Gerogiannis emphasized that the issue of human resources is extremely important, assuring that “for us people are the core of our work for 22 years now».
“We believe that the State should take bolder measures in the field of people and their training, starting with the issue of air navigation services, where we need to move to new air traffic controllers. This year was a year where Greek air shipping did very well, but we know, because we work with these people, the needs that exist for further strengthening of human resources. People are the ones who will carry out the good service to the customer or passenger, but ultimately also to the result that each company will bring“, explained.
Second point where investment is necessary he characterized the tools that people use, “naeronautical tools evolve, because people need to be there and they need to be sufficient to do the job, but they need to have the right tools and the right training to use the tools, so that the efficiency of the system is also improved».
As a third point, he touched on “the institutional framework that started 4-5 years ago with the separation of CAA – APA to proceed to its end, wherever there are issues of staffing, additional training according to the new standards, the new situation in the air transport sector throughout Europe and as a fourth the “to work on the matter of extending the season“, noting that the intense seasonality and correspondingly the need to extend the season is always a request and perhaps this year some restrictions, such as Crete and Rhodes will achieve this, while the government’s announcement “for an incentive scheme for the winter is encouraging, but it remains to be seen how it will be specialized and implemented».
Regarding Aegean’s investments in technology, Mr. Gerogiannis emphasized that “remains the field where we are very active, we have been investing continuously for the last 15 years and we will continue to invest».
14-15 planes with in-flight wifi
In this context, he noted that the in-flight wi-fi service that is already available on ten Aegean neo planes “it will be on 14-15 planes by the end of the year».
Asked about the challenges that aviation is also facing due to the war and the energy crisis, he estimated that all of this “creates a lack of predictability regarding this winter, however, expressing the belief that “given that in Greece we are now very well trained in crisis management […] we will find a way to handle this uncomfortable unpredictable year as well but we don’t have and we won’t have a clear picture for the next year as well, but we will be able to manage it».
“During the pandemic and as Aegean, we have shown our ability and our adaptability when conditions change abruptly. We managed to stand up in the pandemic and come out of this crisis wiser and better with all the lessons we have learned“, he estimated.