TORONTO — SkyGreece Airlines launched its first flight from Toronto late last month with its Boeing 767-300ER departing Toronto Person International Airport bound for Athens, with a brief stop in Montreal to pick up more passengers.
In attendance for the special event were some of SkyGreece’s founders and staff members, including Fr. Nicholas Alexandris, Founder and President, and Denis Codère, Chief Commercial Officer, plus travel agents and member of the press.
“This is a historic moment for SkyGreece and the Greek diaspora. We are very excited to commence the North American operation to Greece, Croatia, and Hungary,” says Eleni Kessaris, Director Ontario/Commercial Manager, Ontario and Western Canada. “We look forward to welcoming everyone onboard to experience our Greek hospitality from take off to landing.”
The Boeing 767-300ER contains 274 seats, with 106 premium cabin seats. SkyGreece is very proud of the offerings in all cabins, but particularly the food that it claims is 40% more food than other airlines, with distinctly Greek flavours such as moussaka, select cheeses and Greek salad.
The inaugural flight was comfortable, though passengers had a bit of a chuckle when oxygen masks dropped over an empty seat when the latch released accidentally, alluding to some growing pains.
SkyGreece Airlines is the private continuation of previously government-owned Olympic Airways, which closed down in Canada and the U.S. in 2009. In fact, Bill Dorizas, who was the captain of Olympic’s last flight was coincidentally the captain for SkyGreece’s first flight.
At least 150 of SkyGreece’s employees, have come from Olympic Airways giving SkyGreece years of accumulated airline experience. This experience, plus strict safety standards in place at Olympic and now SkyGreece, has helped the new airline get their licence quickly from CTA Canada.
“CTA’s auditors are very strict. They don’t play games. If you can’t fly to the U.S. you can’t fly to Canada,” says Alexandris.
Greece is a well-known destination for its ancient history, wonderful beaches and exquisite restaurants, or visitors can explore the Aegean and the islands of the Cyclades.
“Our name is SkyGreece, but we don’t only fly to Greece. We don’t want to be a big airline and we have to be careful when choosing direct-flight destinations,” says Codère.
SkyGreece currently offers direct flights from Toronto, Montreal, Zagreb, Budapest, Thessaloniki and is soon to launch in New York.
SkyGreece began operating in Canada on May 23. It offers flights from Toronto to Athens on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. It also offers Toronto to Budapest on Wednesdays and Fridays, plus Zagreb on Mondays and Thessaloniki on Wednesdays. From Montreal, the flight to Athens is on Saturdays.