Friday, November 1, 2013

Aegean Airlines plans EX-YU expansion

Aegean heading to Ljubljana and Dubrovnik

Greece’s largest carrier, Aegean Airlines, has announced plans to expand its operations in the former Yugoslavia. The Greek airline, which last week received approval from the European Commission to buy out national carrier Olympic Air, will add fifteen new destinations and fifty new flights to its network in 2014. At a press conference in the Greek capital yesterday, the airline said it is considering introducing services from Athens to Ljubljana and Dubrovnik. If it does so, Aegean will go head to head with one of its Star Alliance partners. Croatia Airlines operates seasonal flights from Dubrovnik to Athens, however, the route is currently in doubt for next summer as a result of the carrier’s network reductions from Dubrovnik. On the other hand, Adria has suspended its flights from Ljubljana to Athens some time ago.

The merger between Aegean and Olympic will see both airlines retain their brand names, though Olympic is set to significantly reduce its network. Belgrade is likely to be one of the causalities next summer. Olympic has been struggling to compete against Jat Airways on the Athens - Belgrade service over the past year and next summer faces Air Serbia's double daily flights on the route and an additional double daily flight from Belgrade to Thessaloniki. On the other hand, Aegean has never operated scheduled flights to neither Croatia nor Slovenia but ran charter services to Maribor this summer.

Aegean’s new route launches will come as bad news for Banja Luka Airport which has been courting the Greek airline for the past year. Over the summer, the two sides discussed possibilities for Aegean to launch flights from Athens to Banja Luka. Only last week the airport said it had sent all necessary documentation to Greece’s largest airline and was expecting Aegean to reply. However, Banja Luka did not garner a mention at yesterday’s press conference.

66 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Probably for the tourist season. Greece is quite popular in Republika Srpska.

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  2. Does that mean that Croatia Airlines doesn't fly to Athens during the winter season?!

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  3. Replies
    1. But they fly from ZAG?

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    2. No they don't. They don't fly to Athens during winter.

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    3. Shame, they should though. At least twice a week, maybe on Friday and Monday.

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  4. Skopje will be their best shot (besides Belgrade) aside of the political issue, I don't see how Dubrovnik or Ljubljana will perform better at this time.

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    1. SKP for sure will be better shot than LJU or DBV but fact is that when OA was flying to SKP 10 years ago it was relying most on transit pax to US or Asia/Australia cause TK was not really such a good airline. Since then much has changed: less and less economic collaboration with the Greeks cause of the crisis there, SKP got many direct links, ATH is shrinking, political relations are at bottom level...Too risky for them I suppose. Plus most of the tourists and businessmen between the 2 countries (there are also plenty of Greeks coming for wellness and spa to Macednia) are from the northern part - Thesaaloniki area etc.

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    2. Erm... how on earth would SKP be a bigger market than ZAG? For one most people who would use SKP can drive to various parts of Greece- Croats can't really. I am sure they can successfully fly at least three times per week to Zagreb and attract some transit passengers as well.

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    3. Plus why would anyone launch SKP flights if they can launch ZAG ones, the market is much bigger and higher yielding for sure.

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  5. I am sorry for this off-topic but there was something I wanted to ask all of you.

    Belgrade airport passed the 3,000,000 passenger mark thirteen days earlier than last year. In October 2012 the airport handled a total of 275,583 passengers so in order to pass the 3,000,000 mark in October the airport needed to handle at least 357,471 passengers. Could this really be the case or are my math skills that pathetic? It would represent monthly growth of 29%.

    October 2012: 2,642,529
    October 2013: passed 3,000,000

    Thank you and sorry for the off-topic.

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    1. Ah crap, never mind I got where I made the mistake. :D

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    2. Its your maths :D ;)

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    3. Hahahahah yeah, what an epic failure. But still I guess growth will be around a few percent. :D

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    4. Anyways it's 7% growth compared to october last year. Not bad.

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    5. 7% growth is really good! I think this is the first time in a long time that BEG published their numbers on the first of the month.
      What's interesting is the amount of cargo handled by the airport, up by 36%. Could it also be due to Etihad bring in the equipment for Air Serbia?

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    6. Could you explain me the mistake?

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    7. I used 2012 numbers but without adding the month of October.

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    8. Aha, ok, it can happen to anyone!

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  6. Aegean is a great airline and it’s a pity they don’t fly to more ex-Yu countries. Since I work in airline sales I’m pretty sure ATH-LJU-ATH could do well. Lots of pax from LJU are currently transiting to get to Greece. Also, since Aegean is * alliance and a really close partner of Lufthansa I’m sure Adria will codeshare.

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    1. So no wonder Air Serbia's sale from Ljubljana did well when it came to Greek flights. I suppose most transit in Istanbul and Vienna now?

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    2. True, I'm not surprised they are selling well on that sector. I still don't understand why ATH was suspended by JP but they were cutting everything they could so I guess it was just part of a strategy. They are resuming a lot of flights now and Aegean wanted to beat them to it. JU has the upper hand because they have direct flights to Thessaloniki as well which is also popular but it will be interesting to see how these transit pax are affected by this new route.

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    3. I also wanted to add that it all comes down to price. JU currently has some very competitive rates especially for transit pax. So we will see how it plays out.

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    4. What makes it even stranger is that JP left Athens at a time when ATH was becoming desperate to keep carriers flying there. They were handing out massive discounts, and they still do.
      I suppose that It's because of all these offers, discounts and so on that JU decided to stick with Greece and position itself as an important carrier there.
      I am still surprised that both JP and OU are being passive about it. I mean even Jat at the hight of its dysfunctionality had a few weekly flights to Athens.

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  7. This news said Aegean had crossed BNX regarding its expansion, although the airline was very serious about using it last year.
    Banjaluka Airport has come to a crying shame.
    BNX is perfectly located in the "Lijevče polje" field in the central part of the former Yugoslavia.
    Not only a big part of B&H but a big part of "Slavonija" ,if not whole northern Croatia, gravitates to BNX too. If there are no scheduled flights between Thessaloniki and Zagreb, and also between Thessaloniki and Sarajevo, scheduled flights between Thessaloniki and Banjaluka would be very good substitute and possibly become successful story especially if an airliner of up to 100 seats were used. It’s all about a region of round about 3,000,000 people. Many of them would like to go to Greece, in the summer season.
    But, the problem is that there are no the appropriate/fitting neither airport operator nor airport with all the facilitates the airline companies ask.
    Until two years ago, BNX had experienced perennial industrial disputes, organised by a few low positioned but bold enough workers. They did it in order to get better positions for themselves. It’s all about very high or the highest positions in the company, which the ones neither deserve nor meet the formal conditions for nor can work on at all.
    Unfortunately, due to RS being a state with no any acceptable order in it, those blokes succeeded in what they wanted so they have ruled the airport operator for more than a year and a half now. The result is that both the airport operator and the airport are ruined pretty much. In other words, simply put, Banjaluka Airport has come to its bottom.

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  8. OT: Sarajevo Airport also published its figures today on its website.

    64.387 passengers in October, which is an increase of 24% compared to October last year!!! Way to go! :)

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    1. Good for Sarajevo and Belgrade, I am sure they will do well in the coming months too, especially with the new routes being launched.
      I hope other airports also publish their numbers on here!

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  9. So here is the wisdom: after the JU was renamed in Air Serbia, and the tactic was revealed to take passangers from whole region and transfer them via Belgrade to the rest of the region and europe the there is a logical answer of star alliance in introducing more direct flights, especially those which make flying via belgrade geographically insane (Athens-Dubrovnik).

    After this and similar strategical changes in star alliance business in the region, there is practically no doubt left that missing the chance to make a regional carrier out of JU with the bases throught the desperate region, instead of letting it deminish itself with a narrow national branding and policy, was a self nock-out from a very start.

    I just cannot believe have blind those people from Serbian governmant and Etihad were. They were thinking that can just put out some strategy, and that they will get no troubles because all airlines in the region (bulgaria, croatia, montengro, bosnia) are run by unseccusful state management. But instead of that they will now get to learn what is a serious knowlage based business, and not some patriotism based pseudobusiness. Just a pitty, that this lesson has to run over the back of serbian people and money.

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    1. @Anonymous at 3:23 PM
      The very same and boring staff over and over... :)

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    2. So you are suggesting that had they picked a 'regional name', there would be no market response from Star Alliance whatsoever?

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    3. You do realize that Aegean has not yet confirmed that these flights will be launched? They said that they are considering launching them in the future in case all the other ones work out.
      Furthermore, the smallest aircraft in Aegean's fleet will be an A320. In other words, these destinations won't see more than 2 weekly flights. In other words, even if they are launched, they are no threat to Air Serbia.

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    4. I´m not afraid of "confirmation", I´m afraid of the idea and the fact, that there are obviously some people in lufthansa and co. who don´t think that doing the buisiniss in aviation and making a profit is an issue of ceremony and some new cabin crew.

      "So you are suggesting that had they picked a 'regional name', there would be no market response from Star Alliance whatsoever?"

      Ofcourse there would be the very same response, but in that case JU could react with same natural measurs: with starting direct flights from skoplje, sarajevo, dubrovnik, whatsoever. It could be at least a chance, which with this name and eagel-kusturica-air-serbia-branding doesn´t even exist. We are stuck in belgrade, and star alliance may play around as they wish.

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    5. So if Star Alliance would have responded anyway, then what does it matter if the carrier's name is 'Air Serbia' or 'Air Balkan' or 'Air wedonotwanttohurtanyonesfragileemotions'?

      I particularly love this idea of former Jat (dead until three months ago) immediately attacking the entire Star Alliance all accross the region. Very vivid.

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    6. Funny you say that because Lufthansa announced yesterday that it wants to become Europe's first five start carrier. So it seems that there is some link between good service and profit. duuh

      As was discussed on here countless times, the regional brand would not work. Air Serbia did well to funnel all passengers via BEG rather than to spread them around. The fact that Tarom and B&H Airlines want to work with them proves exactly that.

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    7. "Funny you say that because Lufthansa announced yesterday that it wants to become Europe's first five start carrier. So it seems that there is some link between good service and profit. duuh"

      People, what you really need, is to put your brain on. Nobody has ever denied that a good product is needed for a good business. However a good product is a polishing of the company and what really counts in aviation is a network-strategy and knowing of peoples behaviour in the targeted countries. - both issues where etihad´s experts totally missed the point of balcan situation.

      "So if Star Alliance would have responded anyway, then what does it matter if the carrier's name is 'Air Serbia' or 'Air Balkan' or 'Air wedonotwanttohurtanyonesfragileemotions'?"

      Having a name "Dinar airlines" or "Air Balkan" or whatsowever, JU would have a chance to compete with the rising senibility in the region for regional acting. Having the name "Air Serbia" and existing on the politically controversal branding with "kusturica" or middle ages, JU can never develope as a carrier of other countries in the region, and be a reliable counterpart in the game.

      Best wishes for JU, but relying on an unempirical nationalism they have really screwed the chance to build out something good for serbia.

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    8. Ok, since our brains are off while yours is totally on. Tell me, why aren't British Airways or Turkish Airlines expanding beyond their city airports? ;)
      Especially since both the UK and Turkey are incomparably larger and more lucrative markets than the ex-YU can ever be.

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    9. perhaps, while they have: like 70 000 000 inhabitents, + huge ammount of tourists and business people comming? nobody has ever said that air france should open a base in malaga or lufthansa in prague. the regional acting is essential for companies with minor markets.

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    10. Oh man, just give up. Many airlines tried to do it and failed. Just look at Lufthansa Italia, it failed miserably. The same way CSA's Bratislava base ended up as a major failure.
      There is a reason why British Airways gave up on expanding beyond London or why Turkish Airlines doesn't fly from anywhere else than Istanbul. They tried to establish Anadolujet which was a disaster even if it was a lowcost carrier. There are countless examples when airlines tried to expand in the region and when it is simply not working. SAS is a great example of that when you have the three cities competing to become their primary hub. This just tears the airline apart. Centralization is the way to go.

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    11. Talking s*it every day...and stop offending other people here to switch their brains on. If you had any yourself in the first place you wouldn't have posted your nonsense every day.
      Have anice day everyone.

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  10. One of the few routes they will discontinue is Baku, they had on average 25 passenger per flight. Really bad but I guess they couldn't really attract any passengers due to Athens' position and Aegean's network.

    However, they are not mentioning Belgrade anywhere in the Greek forums and press releases so I am still hoping that they have not made their final decision.

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  11. Well,Dubrovnik(OU,LH,Germanwings) and Ljubljana(JP) are Star Alliance strongholds
    and Aegean is in Star Alliance.
    1+1=2.
    You also can clearly see that Dubrovnik was chosen instead of Zagreb as centre for aviation into and out of Croatia.

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  12. Does anyone know why there were flights to Samara and Bratislava out of BEG today, by RusLine and Danubewings respectively?

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  13. Does anybody know where is Novak Djokovic gone from YU-APC?

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  14. OT - Where's the news about the new Easyjet Geneva-Belgrade route starting end January?

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  15. I believe Aegean got rid of their ATR's but that would've been the perfect aircraft for a SKG-SKP route. That route could easily be daily with an ATR or Dash 8. It's a shame the political situation will not allow for such a flight.

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    1. It has been about three years since Aegean got rid of their Atr fleet. Also, these birds were mostly used for domestic flights, not really internationally. Also, Aegean's fleet is based in Athens with most flights departing Thessaloniki as a stop on their way from Athens.
      Furthermore, I doubt that SKP-SKG would have worked even if there were no political obstacles. The two cities are just too close.

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    2. Especially when the new highway is being finished both of them will be reachable in 3 hours. No point of flight with such a proximity.

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  16. Update....Air Serbia
    SAW-BEG, 1.11.2013. B733.....load factor 100%, got whiskey and beer, also they served French wine, 3/4 passengers stayed in Transit at Nikola Tesla airport

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    1. great news. Were they Turks?

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    2. Very good... Why don't you make some trip report with photos? Would be great...

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  17. It was so nice that people kept on attacking Kondic because he brought in a priest to bless his office while no one mentions this:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/1398616_10201813768579427_1998230296_o.jpg

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    1. well, personally i dislike that, and i don´t think that croats should be an example for any good behaviour. same in the irrationality and undermaining of the states constution: what a lovely neighbours..

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  18. And your point is?

    Why the hell are you on about this?
    Go and pray if it makes you feel better...

    Let the rest of us be...

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    1. The point is that there are double standards. It seems to me that you are the one who needs a prayer, or two as you seem bitter.

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  19. It'd be wonderful if there is air traffic btw. MK and GR. Especially in summer season. Finnaly MK tourist could have a more accessible choice rather then the norther industrial region they're so used to vacation. Flights from SKP to the famous islands are excellent option. I'm very sure that there will be plenty of traffic on the flights to ATH or SKG mainly for people who'd go there for shopping and would like to get quicker on daily basis. The price needs to be accesibile. Many of MKD residents go to GR on daily bassis just for fun sake. Local air traffic is essential. Politics should be kept aside. Simply pointless to mingle with that.

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    1. Yes though I agree with you I fear that the affordable price might not be enough to cover the expenses of the route (SKP-SKG).

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  20. I wonder how many people discussing the flow of passengers in the region have any facts especially regarding the ratio between corporate, FIT and VFR passengers. As for Star Alliance carriers in Belgrade for example, the fact is that Swiss is reducing the number of flights to Zurich by two a week, yet introducing Geneva. At the same time Easy Jet is opening the same route in direct competition. Let me remind you that a few years ago Swiss flew to Basel directly but abandoned the route. Lufthansa is reducing the number of flights between Belgrade and Munich in Summer 2014 to two a day. The only Star Alliance airline increasing the number of flights is Turkish Airlines. As for Aegean/Olympic and their off and on being in the market, they haven't made a significant impact in the market other than catering to O&D passengers and occasional passengers to Greek islands. The Athens - Dubrovnik route was operated by JAT ages ago and it catered mostly to people either touring Europe or cruising Mediterranean.

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    1. Well, your comparison is not really good for a few reasons:

      1. The Basel-Belgrade route was operated with stupid times on stupid days with an inefficient aircraft before the visas were lifted. In other words, the market was restricted and the little market that existed could not be properly served.. The fact that Wizz Air is doing more than fine, which is best portrayed by the additional frequency during the holidays, shows that Swiss' strategy failed them back in the day. When Swiss flew the route they had a lf of roughly 65% which is not bad but it's neither a highly lucrative route.

      2. The reduction of Swiss' flights from Zurich could come as a result of Air Serbia's increased frequency to Zurich. I would like to remind you that up until this point Swiss faced very little competition on the market. This is changing and they will inevitably lose some of the passengers, especially since Air Serbia's hard-product is better than Swiss', which is nothing special anyway. Yes, I know what I am talking about since I fly with them regularly.

      3. Lufthansa's reduction comes for the same reason as Swiss' one. They simply face more competition and the Serbian market is not that high-yielding for them to maintain three daily from Munich. I am sure they will come back when the economy picks up but until then we will have to learn to live with their four daily flights.

      All in all, the reduction of Lufthansa and Swiss comes about as a result of Air Serbia's launch. For ages and ages they have faced minimal competition in Belgrade and they could have done anything they liked. Lufthansa rushed into the Serbian market the moment Alitalia withdrew its three daily flights from Milan. I for one am happy because a balance is being established. Less domination by Star Alliance carriers means lower fares, lower fares means more passengers.

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    2. Spot on. 100% agree

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    3. You actually proved my point. The same as Belgrade - Basel, the route Belgrade - Geneva is operated at odd times on odd days. Even before the very start Swiss has rubbed quite a few people the wrong way by introducing a very low fare with very unusual conditions, which people rushed to by not realising the restrictions are so great that they might end up buying a new ticket,
      As for points 2 and 3, the impact of Air Serbia introducing daily morning and evening flights to/from Zurich and taking away a lot of Far East/Asia/Australia transit passengers from Lufthansa is yet to be seen. From my experience, even the hard core Star Alliance passengers started booking flights via Abu Dhabi. Munich as the main transfer point for LH passengers to Europe is also affected by the newly scheduled Air Serbia flights as smoother and cheaper connections are possible now.
      You're quite right that the Air Serbia launch will shift the balance.

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    4. At the same time Swiss did adjust its business model out of Geneva. It allows you to buy a one way tickets without charging you €600 the same way Lufthansa does. But even if they have done many of these things I still feel that they have not done enough to efficiently compete vs. the lowcosts, especially against airlines such as easyJet which are actually pleasant to fly on (unlike Wizz Air or Ryanair). So on that point I do agree with you.

      I did not imply that they took away passengers heading to Asia, I was merely implying that people who originate in Belgrade and want to fly to Brussels do not need to connect any more in Zurich, Frankfurt, Munich... since Air Serbia will offer daily flights and a good on board product. That's the market they are losing. Naturally, they will not withdraw from Serbia simply because the market is big enough for every one to get their own fair share and that's exactly what's happening. Lufthansa and its greedy children need to back off a little bit so that others can get a piece too. :)
      Regardless of all this, I still think that Lufthansa and its minions will not lose their domination when it comes to Serbia-the Americas market because they are well established and other airlines can't really compete with them in that domain. I for one know that if I have to fly over the pond, I first check lh.com

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    5. We're on the same page. LH and its minions still hold a big piece of the North Atlantic cake and also quite a share of Central Russia and Central Asia traffic, so they are not to leave this market any time soon. They will only have lose their attitude as there are more options now and most of them are cheaper.

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