Theodore Vassilakis, Chairman of Aegean Airlines said: "Joining Star Alliance is an honour and a great opportunity for Aegean. As of today our customers will enjoy recognition, loyalty benefits and end-on-end global service that Star Alliance is renowned for. At the same time, there will be a 'star' on the map, showing that services and access to Greece have been significantly upgraded."

Aegean Airlines completed the integration and systems upgrade process in a short 12 months, following its acceptance as future member in May 2009.

Jaan Albrecht, CEO Star Alliance said: "AEGEAN brings a wealth of experience and an extensive domestic and international route network to the alliance family. For alliance members, Greece is an important travel market where Athens can be built into a major hub airport with growing connection traffic. It has already become an important player in the Southeast European area and we fully expect entry into Star Alliance will support its further development."

Greece is of strategic importance due to its geographic position in the eastern Mediterranean, acting as the main southeastern access point into the European Union. With AEGEAN, the Star Alliance network to/from/within Greece now covers more than 1,500 weekly flights to 69 destinations in 27 countries.

Moreover, the large Greek communities spread across more than 100 countries - such as the U.S, the U.K., Australia, Germany and Canada - now enjoy the advantages provided by an airline alliance when visiting friends and families.

Also, the business community in Greece will now be able to make use of Star Alliance Frequent Flyer benefits both on domestic flights, as well as on multiple carrier itineraries when travelling across Europe and overseas.

Greece is also an important meetings and conventions market. Hence, the inclusion of AEGEAN into both Star Alliance Convention Plus and Meetings Plus will provide for new business opportunities.

Greece is undoubtedly one of the most sought after vacation destinations. Not only will AEGEAN provide seamless travel to over 17 domestic destinations, but through the inclusion of these in the Star Alliance Europe Airpass, as well as in the very popular Round-the-World fare, flights to these destinations are now available at very attractive prices. By the same token, Frequent Flyers can redeem their miles to travel to this wide array of new destinations in the Star Alliance network.

Publicly listed Aegean Airlines began operations some 11 years ago and now operates a fleet of 30 aircraft covering a total of 54 domestic and international routes on more than 150 daily flights. Specifically, 26 routes in Greece are covered, as well as another 28 international routes. Since 2008, AEGEAN has become the largest Greek airline in terms of passengers.

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Issued by Air New Zealand Public Affairs ph +64 9 336 2761