Marathon Seeks Capacity/Flexibility Balance

marathon airlines embraer e175
Credit: Marathon

Embraer’s E-Jets have racked up sizeable customer bases, but it is still relatively unusual for the type to be used in the ACMI role, with most wet-lease specialists opting for the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 families.

Greece’s Marathon Airlines bucked the trend by opting for the smaller aircraft, said a spokesman for the Athens-based carrier.

“While larger aircraft like the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 are favored by many ACMI operators, we recognized an opportunity to differentiate ourselves by leveraging the unique advantages offered by smaller, more versatile aircraft.

“The Embraer E170/190 series strikes a balance between capacity and flexibility, allowing us to efficiently meet the diverse needs of our clientele, especially in markets with varying demand patterns and infrastructure constraints.”  

“These aircraft offer exceptional performance characteristics, enabling us to access airports with shorter runways and serve routes with lower passenger demand while maintaining high levels of operational reliability and cost-effectiveness.

“By leveraging the capabilities of the E170/190 series, we can swiftly respond to market demands [and] capitalize on niche opportunities.”

Marathon acquired its AOC as recently as December 2020, initially commencing operations within the business aviation sector. In April 2022, the airline expanded its scope by introducing its first Embraer EMB 175, marking its entry into the charter business.

Marathon’s first wet-lease contract, with the now-defunct UK regional airline Flybe, followed in June 2022, flying to several domestic UK destinations.  Contracts with Estonian carrier Nordica and its subsidiary Regional Jet followed, covering intra-Sweden routes.

Marathon currently operates a fleet of seven Embraer aircraft: three E175 STDs/LR, one E190LR, and three E195 IGWs/LR.

“As we continue to experience rapid expansion and secure new ACMI contracts, some of which are long-term extensions of existing ones, we are strategically planning to augment our fleet in the coming months,” said the spokesman.

“To accommodate this growth trajectory, we are actively considering the introduction of Embraer E2s into our fleet. Additionally, we are exploring the acquisition of A320s to cater to contracts requiring higher capacity.

“Furthermore, 2024 represents a pivotal year for Marathon Airlines. This month, we are scheduled to receive LVO Cat II approval, a significant milestone in our operational capabilities. Moreover, we are working towards achieving IOSA certification, a goal that will unlock new avenues for growth and expansion opportunities.”

Last year saw Marathon significantly expanding its portfolio of ACMI contracts, providing aircraft to Lumiwings (Greece), Lübeck Air (Germany), air charter broker Europair (Spain), Air Serbia and Peoples (Austria). It also ventured outside Europe with a contract with Cronos Airlines of Equatorial Guinea, which operates flights across West Africa.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.