A new airline, funded by Greek-Canadian entrepreneurs and proudly bearing the name “SkyGreece,” was inaugurated in May with the aim of servicing the transatlantic route connecting Athens to the Canadian metropolises of Toronto and Montréal. As of June 19th, SkyGreece will be adding the city of New York to its destinations, with the initial flight to be launched in the presence of the Greek Deputy Minister for Tourism, Elena Kountoura.
With the Greek flag adorning the tail of its aircraft, “Taxiarhis,” SkyGreece causes waves of emotion whenever it lands at Toronto’s “Pearson” and Montreal’s “Trudeau” airport as Canada’s expatriate Greeks openly display their excitement that a Greek carrier has come along to solidify their ties with the homeland.
For the time being and to no one’s surprise, Father Alexandris bases his expectations for the success of SkyGreece on the large Greek expat communities in New York, Montreal and Toronto that were suddenly left wanting when Olympic suspended service.
Greece’s Deputy Tourism Minister, Elena Kountouras, has expressed her government’s support for SkyGreece Airlines, noting that it is a worthy project that aims to connect Greek expatriates with their Motherland. Ms. Kountouras also did not fail to mention that the Greek flag adorning SkyGreece’s fleet is a picture that evokes emotion.
The immediate plans are to inaugurate another flight linking Toronto with Zagreb (via Athens) in order to embrace the growing tourist destinations of the Dalmatian Coast in conjunction with those of Greece.
The company wants to become a protagonist in the airline industry by unlocking “new” markets, offering competitive pricing and growing its network with the addition of flights to Chicago, Boston and South Africa as well as other European cities beyond 2016. As administration officials stressed, the initial capital invested is in the range of 45 million dollars and expectations are for profitability to be attained within two years.
Ticket prices range from $850, including all taxes, with passengers having the added luxury of bringing along two suitcases (each weighing 20 kg) at no additional cost.
Foremost, SkyGreece’s flights are manned by senior pilots with years of transatlantic experience, the majority of whom worked for Olympic Airways. Captain Dorizas, SkyGreece’s director of flight operations, explained that the measures undertaken by the company concerning the issue of security are much more stringent than those required by existing regulations, one aspect being that SkyGreece’s cockpits have two pilots along with a co-pilot instead of the usual pilot/co-pilot requirement.
SkyGreece has been approved by the major licensing agencies of EASA, the CTA and the FAA, ensuring flight licenses in Europe, Canada and the United States respectively.