April 19, 2017 / 1:36 PM / 4 months ago

Greece's Aegean Airlines grows passenger traffic 5 pct in first quarter

ATHENS, April 19 (Reuters) - Greece's largest carrier Aegean Airlines said on Wednesday passenger traffic grew 5 percent in the first quarter, with load factors improving to historically high levels for the winter season.

The company, a member of the Star Alliance airline group, said it flew a total of 2.1 million passengers on domestic and foreign routes, together with its subsidiary Olympic Air.

Its overall load factor - a measure of how full its planes are - improved by eight percentage points to 76.8 percent compared to last year's first quarter.

Aegean, which flies a young fleet of 61 aircraft, mostly Airbus A320 jets, said passenger numbers on flights abroad grew 17 percent to 1.1 million but fell 6 percent on domestic routes due to weaker demand.

"The course of load factors and pre-bookings for the summer season ... are very encouraging for how the full year will turn out," Chief Executive Dimitris Gerogiannis said in a statement. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos, editing by David Evans)

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