Aegean Air Posts Higher Loss on Rising Fuel Costs, Greece

Aegean Airlines SA posted a wider loss in 2011 from a year earlier amid higher fuel costs and continued weak demand for travel from Greek customers.

The loss widened to 27.2 million euros ($36.2 million) from 23.3 million euros in 2010, according to an e-mailed statement from the Athens-based carrier today. Sales rose 13 percent to 668 million euros. Fuel costs increased 51 percent to 184 million euros.

International passenger traffic rose 15 percent in 2011 to 3.5 million passengers as the company expanded outside Greece. Domestic passengers declined 6 percent as Greeks cut back travel. The carrier invested in additional slots in London and Paris and has 166.8 million euros in cash and cash equivalents.

Greece’s gross domestic product shrank 6.9 percent in 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said. The economy is mired in a fifth year of recession and unemployment in December reached a record 21 percent. The country has agreed to a new wave of austerity measures including wage and pension cuts in exchange for a second bailout package worth 130 billion euros from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The environment in the first quarter of 2012 “continues to be weak with a further drop in demand,” Aegean said in the statement.

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