Full article in JPG format: page 18/19, page 20, page 22/23 & cover
With economic confidence growing across Europe, it is easy to forget that just two years ago the continent was mired in a full-blown financial crisis. Unemployment and long-term government bond rates had surged to historic highs, raising the spectre of an imminent Eurozone break-up.
No country was worse affected than Greece, whose bankrupt economy needed a €110 billion ($146 billion) bail-out to stay afloat. As a condition for its support, Brussels forced Athens to implement severe austerity measures that sent Greeks spilling onto the streets in protest. Five people died and hundreds were injured in the ensuing riots – broadcast around the world on 24-hour news channels.
The impact on the country’s aviation sector was devastating. International visitor numbers slumped 5.5% in 2012 to 15.5 million. Those who did come expected heavily discounted airfares, pushing down passenger yields for Greece’s struggling carriers...