Greece’s Astra Airways’ Financial Difficulties Prompt HCAA Review

Greek airline Astra Airways has come under the scrutiny of the Civil Aviation Authority of Greece (HCAA), as multiple canceled flights and financial problems outline a problematic future for the airline. One such fate may end in the termination of the airline itself.

Astra Airlines finds itself in hot water. Photo: Oleg V. Belyakov – AirTeamImages via Wikimedia

Who is Astra Airways?

Astra Airways is a small carrier based in Greece, that according to World Airline News, operates out of the hub of Thessaloniki to Chios, Ikaria, Lesvos, Samos, Lemnos, Heraklion, Crete and Kos, and from Athens to Chios, Ikaria, Kozani, and Kastoria. It also operates seasonal services with their single four-engined jet aircraft (see below) to Israel and Germany.

They are quite young and were only founded back in 2008 (so only 11 years old) with a fleet of four aircraft. One BAe-146-300s, two ATR 42-300s and a single ATR 72-200. The airline’s founder is the notable, Anastasios Zirinis, former CEO of Olympic Aviation. Unfortunately, his old airline actually is now owned by Aegean Airlines who is fiercely competitive for the same market place.

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Greece
The carrier did also operate an Airbus A320-200 but has since phased it out. Photo: Oyoyoy via Wikimedia

What is happening now with the airline?

Astra Airways has been having some trouble actually completing its scheduled flights. According to Aeronautics Online, the airline has not actually flown a single route since Saturday (and this article is being published on a Tuesday, so it has been a few days, to say the least).

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The airline issued this statement earlier this week regarding its current problems

The company would like to inform the public that with regards to the recently canceled flights, requests for compensation for passengers will be examined and answered by November 15, 2019. We apologize for the inconvenience caused and are working for the smooth and orderly continuation of our flights.

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They have also disabled their booking system on their website for future flights at this stage.

Astra Airlines
Astra Airlines BAe-146-300. Photo: Dejan Milinkovic via Wikimedia

Essentially the airline does not have enough cash to operate its main business of flying. They can’t pay the landing fees, fuel trucks not even catering. The airline did receive a few route contracts from the local government to provide connectivity to remote islands, but it appears as if they need to get more money.

They are currently seeking an investor to come on board to help provide them with funds for day to day operations. However, some online commentators have suggested that as the greek market is so competitive (not only with local carriers but foreign low-cost carriers as well) their future may be rather rocky.

They have apparently till the end of today to find the money. We wish them the best of luck for all those employees and passengers that rely on their service.

Simple Flying reached out for further comment, but at this time has not received a reply from the carrier.

What do you think? Will they recover? Let us know in the comments.

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