A new Greek airline, Ellinair, completed its maiden flight from Thessaloniki to Kiev and back at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, bringing 96 Ukrainian tourists to the main northern city.
They were welcomed at the airport by owners Mouzenidis Group, while Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos held a blessing ceremony by the aircraft, a four-engine RJ85 that had left Greece at 9:15 a.m. for Kiev.
The Group plans to run two such airplanes from Thessaloniki and expects to add an A319 airbus, to be based on Corfu island in western Greece.
The travel group, which runs 70 offices in Russia, the Ukraine and other Eastern European cities, brought half a million tourists to Greece from Russia and Eastern Europe and, based on current reservations, expects to surpass that number this year, Ellinair CEO Ioannis Mouzenidis said. About half of them usually head for northern Greece and Halkidiki peninsula (including Mt. Athos).
Through the use of the two airplanes and agreements with other carriers, Ellinair plans to include schedules to and from the following cities, he said: Briansk, Voronezh, Stavropol, Kaliningrad, Riga, Meneralnye Vody, Odessa, Donetsk, Lviv, Moscow, Volgograd, Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Omsk, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg, Perm, Samara, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Astana, Kharkiv and Bari.