Aegean Airlines (A3, Athens) has fully repaid all its commercial bank loans drawn during the pandemic three years before they mature, leaving the airline with cash and cash equivalents of more than EUR500 million euros (USD539 million). At the same time, net equity has also returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The airline completed repayment of the last tranche of the emergency loans from four large Greek banks by March 15, 2023, according to its Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2022 results. These show a strong recovery after two years of significant losses due to Covid-19, including EUR1.34 billion euros (USD1.44 billion) in turnover and EUR106.8 million (USD114.7 million) in profit after taxes.

Despite this, there would be no dividend pay-out for the fourth consecutive year, said Chief Executive Officer Dimitris Gerogiannis. This was to boost the airline's capacity to buy out the rights of the Greek government upon a potential exercise of their warrants. It also needed sufficient cash reserves to fund investment in a maintenance centre and simulator facility (announced in December 2022).

Aegean would also take delivery of nine new A320-200Ns and A321-200NX, part of an order of 46 Airbus neo aircraft by 2026. The airline plans to operate 76 aircraft by the end of 2023. According to the ch-aviation fleets module, Aegean currently operates a fleet of 59 aircraft, with 20 more on order, including twelve A320-200Ns and eight A321-200NX.

"The first indications for 2023 are particularly encouraging, with international traffic in the first two months and ticket pre-sales trends for the upcoming summer, well above early 2022 but also versus the same period of pre-pandemic 2019," Gerogiannis said in a statement. "Furthermore, the use of a higher number of Airbus neo aircraft will bring unit cost savings in fuel per seat, partially mitigating higher interest rates impact and high inflation across Europe that will affect the suppliers and our operating costs," he said.

Financial highlights included:

  • Consolidated revenue of EUR1.34 billion in 2022 was up 98% on 2021 and 2% more than in 2019;
  • In 2022, the Group carried 12.5 million passengers, 73% more than in 2021, out of which 7.3 million travelled internationally;
  • 2022 load factors were 79.8% higher than in 2021 but remained below pre-pandemic levels;
  • The international network contributed nearly 80% of revenues in 2022;
  • Total FY 2022 capacity offered in ASKs [available seat kilometres] reached 90% of 2019; this increased to 99% in Q4, resulting in the first profitable Q4 in company history with a EUR13.6 million (USD14.6 million) Q4/2022 net income.
  • Net income for FY 2022 was EUR106.8 million, reversing headline losses of EUR57.6 million (USD61.8 million) in 2021. It was also 36% higher than the net income of EUR78.5 million (USD84.3 million) in 2019.

The airline said robust travel demand, the revenue increase, the ongoing fleet upgrade, and partial fuel hedging together offset the impact of high jet fuel costs and US dollar appreciation.

"The results validate the effectiveness of our strategy, despite the challenging start of 2022 with the war in Ukraine and the increased jet fuel cost, proving that our investment in upgrading our fleet and services, unabated during the pandemic, has started to pay off in terms of improved competitiveness," concluded Gerogiannis.