Is Aegean Airlines Safe? (Yes, it is)

I last flew with Greece’s flag carrier, Aegean Airlines, several years ago while in Athens for my studies. The flights I took in Aegean’s all-Airbus fleet provided opportunities to use Athens as a jumping point to explore other interesting cities like Tel-Aviv, Milan, and Cairo. Those flights still stand out to me for their clean cabins, decent economy food options, and friendly crews.

The airline began commercial operations in 1999 and is still small by most metrics compared to Europe’s biggest players. Even so, Aegean is Greece’s largest carrier, with 144 destinations and plans to grow its fleet by nearly 50% by 2026. Still, as most flights are confined to Europe and its immediate neighbors, many non-European travelers might wonder how safe Aegean is to fly.

To put it succinctly, Aegean Airlines is a very safe and modern airline that should raise no cause for concern – read on to find out why.

Is Aegean Airlines Safe? (Yes, it is)

Aegean Airlines Operates a Modern Fleet

Aegean-branded flights (Aegean also owns Olympic Air, which utilizes a different fleet structure) currently consist of an all-Airbus fleet of 54 aircraft with an average age of 9.6 years old – rather new for airliners.

In fact, Aegean’s fleet is younger than those of many well-known European carriers including British Airways, Air France, and KLM. Although its oldest airframe is a single, 17 year old A319, the airline placed an order with Airbus in 2018 for up to 42 next-generation aircraft in the A320neo family, many of which have already been delivered.

The utilization of an all-Airbus fleet simplifies maintenance and means that Aegean operates some of the most safe, efficient, and technologically advanced passenger aircraft in the world. These same airframes are utilized by many of the globe’s most recognizable and trusted airlines, including Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, and hundreds of others globally, putting Aegean’s fleet in excellent company.

Today, Aegean Airlines’ Airbus fleet consists of 27 A320s, 11 A321neos, 8 A321s, 7 A320neos, and 1 A319. All part of the A320 family of aircraft, these planes were the first civil aircraft to utilize fly-by-wire technology. Their flight controls and characteristics are so similar to one another’s that all are covered by a common type rating, meaning that a pilot who is qualified to fly an A319 is also qualified to fly an A320 or A321.

Since Aegean only operates the A320 family of aircraft, its pilots do not transition between entirely different aircraft as they advance their careers within the company, as many pilots with most larger airlines do. 

What this means for travelers’ peace of mind is that Aegean pilots will have a strong understanding of and familiarity with Airbus flight controls and characteristics that will only grow deeper over the course of their career. This is by no means to say that transitioning between multiple aircraft types makes for unsafe pilots at other airlines – it does not. Rather, this is simply one more reason why passengers can rest assured that they are in particularly good hands while flying with Aegean. 

Aegean Airlines A320

Aegean’s Memberships and Associations

Aegean Airlines is IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) registered, meaning it passes the IATA’s (International Air Transport Association) rigorous global safety management standards required for IATA membership, which must be renewed every two years. 

The airline is also one of 26 member airlines in Star Alliance and has additional code share and partnership arrangements with 23 airlines. It should be noted that some of those 23 partners are also Star Alliance members, but have further arrangements with Aegean that provide additional benefits beyond those provided by Star Alliance membership.

Aegean’s Star Alliance membership and other airline code share agreements mean that passengers who begin their travels with Aegean have the ability to connect to virtually any major airport in the world via Aegean’s code share network. It also means that, even if travelers book travel through another carrier, they might find themselves flying a leg or two of their trip with Aegean – especially on trips that connect through or terminate in Athens or Thessaloniki, which are both Aegean hub cities.

While code share agreements and airline alliances may create situations in which travelers must fly certain legs of their trips with an unfamiliar airline, passengers can take comfort knowing that membership in alliances like Star Alliance requires that each member airline meet and maintain rigorous quality and safety standards. Star Alliance membership also places Aegean among the likes of other reputable and safe airlines like Lufthansa, ANA, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.

Aegean’s Safety Record

Simply put, Aegean Airlines’ safety record to date is about as impeccable as they come.

The airline has seen no major accidents since it began commercial service in 1999 and has experienced no passenger fatalities. As with any regularly scheduled air passenger service, Aegean aircraft still encounter occasional maintenance issues that cause diversions, hit major turbulence, or have to abort a takeoff or landing for safety reasons.

Still, these minor incidents happen no more frequently with Aegean than with any other major airline and should be no cause for concern. 

Summary: Is Flying with Aegean Airlines Safe?

Aegean Airlines is Greece’s premier air carrier, flying routes primarily across Europe and its neighbors. These flights are conducted with a young fleet comprised of safe, modern, and technologically advanced Airbus A319, A320, and A321 airframes, an increasing number of which are newly manufactured since Aegean’s 2018 purchase agreement with Airbus for up to 42 next-generation airframes of the A320 family.

Given the airline’s excellent safety record, reliable fleet, and generally good in-flight service, I am more than comfortable recommending Aegean as a safe and reliable option for European air travel.

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