SkyGreece to launch Athens flights in early 2014

Share

 The founders of SkyGreece Airlines

SkyGreece Airlines published this photo of the airline’s founders Peter Chilakos (left), Fr Nicholas Alexandris and Bill Alefantis on its Facebook page last fall

 

 

SkyGreece had expected to start flying this summer 

Because there had been no more announcements after February, there was speculation on both sides of the Atlantic that the new airline wasn’t going to get off the ground after all. Now, however, it appears that the projected 2013 summer launch date was just a little too optimistic.

In a new Facebook post entitled “Major Announcement,” SkyGreece yesterday said it has “purchased a B 767-300ER with a capacity of 274 seats. (110 seats will be in a comfort class) with 164 in economy. Our aircraft will be in Athens in early August. Our schedule to North America will begin in early 2014.”

The news quickly drew many positive responses and 260 “likes”; however, one Facebook fan made a keen observation: “Ha ha, all those destinations! That one plane will be busy lol.” In reply, SkyGreece posted: “Our second aircraft is already in the works and will be announced in late 2013.”

Another Facebook fan was quick to offer an explanation for why it’s taking SkyGreece longer than expected to get off the ground: “For those wondering why such a long delay all I can say is you guys haven’t tried doing business in Greece or anywhere within the EU LOL!” he wrote.

 

Confusing corporate information

According to the airline’s Facebook page, which was set up on September 27 2012, the airline was founded by Peter Chilakos, Fr Nicholas Alexandris and Bill Alefantis.  Father Alexandris serves as company president, while Mr. Chilakos is Vice President of Cargo Operations. Media reports said all three men are Canadians of Greek origin.

According to a January 15 2013 post on the Travel Hot News website, Alefantis is “co-owner of Voyages Funtastique Rex in Laval, Quebec and wholesaler HI Tours,” while “Chilakos was educated at the University of Quebec in Montreal and is a shareholder in HI Tours and Voyages Alcyon. Alexandris is a cleric who was educated at the University of Ottawa and lives in Toronto, where he is the director of the Metropolitan Centre of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto.” Travel Hot News added that former Air Transat executive Robert Brouillard will be SkyGreece’s vice president of transportation and revenue, “a similar role to the one he held with Transat for several years.”

However, if you search for further online information about the airline, you’ll find that conflicting and confusing details have been published since late last autumn. Some websites said SkyGreece will be based in Canada whereas others said it will be based in Greece and will employ Greek cabin crews and pilots. The Wikipedia entry for SkyGreece, for instance, says the company is “incorporated and headquartered in Greece” with offices in New York, Montreal and Toronto.  Several online reports also mentioned that the airline would have a fleet of Airbus A340-300 aircraft.

Websites also provided contradictory information about when and where SkyGreece would begin service. In a December 4 2012 post, the Canadian edition of the Greek Reporter stated that “flights will start in May 2013 and the weekly program will include two flights, one to Toronto and another to Montreal. The flights to New York will be three times a week. The company said it will launch direct flights from Athens to Chicago and South Africa as well.”

 

 Will SkyGreece offer competitive fares?

Besides looking forward to a new direct air connection between Athens and North America (Olympic Airlines ceased flying across the Atlantic four years ago after it underwent a major restructuring and emerged as the new Olympic Air), many travellers will be eager to see if SkyGreece airfares will be bargain-priced. Travel Hot News and other sites said the new airline’s “mission is to offer affordable flights to the Greek diaspora returning to visit family in Greece.”

Currently, some direct flights to Athens are available from the USA only on Delta Air Lines out of New York’s JFK airport and US Airways from Philadelphia. In Canada, travellers can choose between Air Transat, which has been flying to Greece from Toronto and Montreal for more than a decade, and rouge, the new Air Canada “leisure” airline that launches July 1 with flights out of Toronto and Montreal.

Rouge was expected to give Air Transat a highly competitive run for its money, but doesn’t seem to be offering any substantial savings except for travel during September and October.

 

Air Transat cheapest in July & August, rouge in September

For July, the cheapest Toronto to Athens round-trip ticket available on rouge this morning was $3,333 for a July 1 departing flight and a July 15 return. Air Transat had seats available for $2,301 for a July 7-18 itinerary, and for $2,201 for a July 7-22 holiday.

For August, flights were still more expensive on rouge. It had an August 12-26 itinerary available for $1,608, while Air Transat had seats for August 11-26 at $1,551.88. And a September 9-23 rouge itinerary cost $1,238 compared to $1,151.88 for Air Transat’s September 8-23 flights.

But rouge offers significant savings for flights later in September and in October. A rouge trip September 23-October 7 cost $1,136 compared to $1,401 for Air Transat’s September 25-October 7 roundtrip. And rouge flights on September 30-October 14 were $1,108, substantially cheaper than the $2,301.88 Air Transat was asking for its September 29-October 14 flights.

I checked similar travel dates for Delta, but couldn’t find any direct flights during July or August. Prices ranged from $1,410 to $1,557 with one stop en route. In September and early October, however, I found return non-stop trips available for $1,090.

For Us Airways, I found a direct flight in July for $1,811.78, and in August for $1,583.53. Prices dropped in September, with direct flights available for $1,187.53 and $1,287.57.

 

Pages: 1 2

10 Comments

  1. Unless your comment in their facebook page , praises their undertaking, it gets deleted. The only plane aquired so far , is over 21 years old, and is being overhauled in ISTANBUL, ( Constantinople). Patriotism be damned, cost and profit above all. A start up low cost airline, flying out of JFK or ORD, YYZ , YUL, without interline agreements is doomed to fail. Hellenic Imperial, in which Father Alexandris was part of, lasted only 1 month. Hopefully he gained experience from that fiasco.Lastly, they claim to provide greek hospitality in their flights, o.k. then, can anyone define greek hospitality? Is it serving dolmadakia and watching Vougiouklaki films during the flight, or listening to byzantine hymns ? So, they have one plane, and will serve 4 destinations from North America… oh, the competition is shaking in their pants. Also an airline without any interline agreements for travel within greece will find it difficult to operate even if it depends entirely on a greek clientele, since not every greek’s final destination is Athens… many continue their travel to the islands, and a smooth automatic baggage transfer to the next carrier is a definite plus. Lastly, if greece was such a hot market, surely the competitions would have figured this out, and operated flights all year long.

  2. I think Aegean after the merger with Olympic air might start flying north america again .We went to Greece in July 03 and the fare was 1100.00 return that was bought in febuary

  3. Aegean has been flying out of Philadelphia for the last two years in partnership with US Airways. Best thing is the luggage transfer to our final destination, both when we are going and coming back. Regarding Sky Greece, I wish them luck, but I think that it will be very difficult for one plane to cover 4 North American cities and also the interline contracts or lack thereof are going to be an issue.

  4. Does it take much to realize that they have the wrong name , should be SkyDream. Mickey Mouse stuff.

  5. kostas papagiannis

    February 25, 2014 at 8:03 am

    kαθε αρχη και δυσκολη. ευχομαι τις καλλυτερες πτησεις.

  6. Constantine Dean Siomkos

    May 7, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Well…here we are with another airline…will it take off and maintain to service the Greek-American folks that travel yearly to Greece from NYC???..Good luck with doing this!

  7. when is Sky Greece coming to New Yorks Kennedy International Airport will someone please let me know i would truly appreciate it very much
    Stavroula

  8. Do seats in economy have personal screens like?

  9. I hope they’ll succeed.
    Canada Rouge is the biggest joke of an airline I have ever travelled with:
    expensive, no service, horrible food( got sick last year).
    You have to be a midget to fit your legs, no entertainment whatsoever.

    Please succeed.
    We need you!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!