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Christian Tadjeran, President & CEO - Viking Airlines

Christian Tadjeran, President & CEO - Viking Airlines

Viking Airlines initial business set up was to base airplanes in Greece and fly to anywhere in Europe and bring tourists.

» Interview | Friday, June 11, 2010 • Air News Times

GQ: Why did Viking decide to choose Airbus 320 for Viking Hellas?

CT: For two reasons. First we were looking for a kind of support in the region. If you look at Aegean and Olympic they are both operating Airbus. We have an interline agreement with both companies and we do not plan to compete with them, we plan to work with them commercially and technically. There are good opportunities available for the leasing of Airbus aircraft and so we decided to make Viking Hellas an Airbus company. The other reason is that the relation with Airbus is very good and we like to work with Airbus.

 

GQ:  Do you plan to use in the future to replace Boeing on the routes you currently use Boeing with Airbus?

CT: The reason why we had to choose 737-800 was that many flights from UK are quite long as for example the ones Manchester Sharm El Sheikh. Boeing 737-800 is at the moment the best range airplane in the small to medium size and we wanted an aircraft that was able to perform these flights.

 

GQ:  Why did you choose Greece as the base for your flights to Iraq?

CT: Viking Airlines initial business set up was to base airplanes in Greece and fly to anywhere in Europe and bring tourists. We have been here since 2003 and every year we bring passengers into Greece. We have established ourselves quite well in Athens, our operational base is at Athens International Airport where we do all the planning, ground operation and crew control for the whole group. We always been working out of Greece and with Viking Hellas a new opportunity has started because we don’t have fifth freedom problems as we can fly from Athens anywhere we want and take people from Europe and with the interline agreements with both Aegean and Olympic to connect with our flights to Iraq. Iraqi business is going to be good in the following years, at least until when everything else will do it.

 

GQ:  What is the focus of Viking, charter or schedule traffic?

CT: Our focus is charter but there is the problem in Europe that during winter there is almost no charter traffic at all. We decided to split our business and find to solutions to fill the aircrafts during winter. We think that finding niche start up routes and which we are working right now will give us a good year round flow of flying.

 

GQ:  Airlines like Austrian, Lufthansa, RJ and Gulf Air offer flights to Iraq, do you feel there is a strong competition from them?

CT: It is always a disadvantage to compete with big airlines. But we are flying to Iraq from Scandinavia already five years now and we have a good knowledge of how to do this operation. We think that there is room for a greek airline to do this operation/service and Athens is at a very good strategic position for going into Iraq.

 

GQ:  Do you think that there is sufficient market for the route from Athens?

CT: Yes, definitively. We work with tour operators and ethnic travel agencies and they sell quite well.

 

GQ:  Do you plan to have other destinations in the Middle East or Pakistan?

CT: At the moment there are no plans to do that.

 

GQ:  Your model is sustainable in order to compete with LCCs that expand in the tourist destinations?

CT: You are normally selling full charter airplanes to tourist destinations. We don’t think we will have problem with that because the big tour operators are buying the whole airplane while the LCC are selling the flight themselves. As long we have a good cooperation with tour operators, we believe we won’t have a problem.p.MsoNormal { font-size: 11pt; margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Calibri","sans-serif"; }

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