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Aegean Chief: VAT thwarting Greek airline competitiveness

Eftihis Vassilakis, the vice president of Greece’s largest carrier, Aegean, is calling on the government to stop taxing healthy enterprises warning that increasing levies will lead to the “stagnation and decline” of the sector.

“In order for Aegean and other operators to continue their expansion, errors hindering competitiveness must be rectified,” Vassilakis told journalists while addressing the prospects of airline growth on Wednesday.

Vassilakis underlined that after the purchase of Olympic Air in 2013, Aegean “invested knowingly in Greek tourism adding 4.5 million seats annually and more than 50 destinations, being the only company, meanwhile, to contribute over 300 million euros in direct revenue to the state”.

“The road to growth for both tourism and air transport cannot be independent of government choices and decisions,” he added, referring to the VAT on air transport which in a period of a year surged from 13 percent to 24 percent, the highest in Europe.

Vassilakis also referred to the government’s contract with German operator Fraport for the management of 14 regional airports and said it demonstrates that competitiveness and quality can be ensured to the best interests of the economy.