Monthly Archives

August 2018


By | News

Lufthansa’s General Sales Manager in Greece and Cyprus speaks to about Thessaloniki as a destination and the plans of the company.

With increased expectations for the success of the Thessaloniki-Frankfurt flight, the German airline, Lufthansa, returns to the city this October following an absence of 17 years. Speaking to, Lufthansa’s General Sales Manager in Greece and Cyprus, Konstantinos Tzevelekos stresses that in recent years Thessaloniki has taken its place on the map as an important tourist destination for the whole year. At the same time, he estimates that the continuing investments in both the port and the airport will show the geostrategic importance of its location and this will have a direct positive impact on attracting businesses and hence on the demand for business trips.

According to Mr. Tzevelekos, Lufthansa is considering the possibility of direct connection between Thessaloniki and Munich, while discussions on the inclusion of new destinations on the routes of the Lufthansa’s Group airlines, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings from Makedonia airport are in progress.


The interview of Lufthansa’s General Sales Manager in Greece and Cyprus, Konstantinos Tzevelekos, at


  • The business community as well as the municipality of Thessaloniki have been calling in recent years for Lufthansa to restore the Frankfurt-Thessaloniki flight. Why did the company leave Thessaloniki in 2001 and what is it that changed and led the company to the decision to return to the city?


The decision of the Lufthansa Group to reestablish the Thessaloniki-Frankfurt route was based both on Northern Greece’s travel market and on the tourist perspective of the city. In recent years, Thessaloniki has taken its place on the map as an important tourist destination for the whole year. Its special features, capabilities and culture are being utilized more effectively today and the city has regained the momentum of attracting even more tourists, tourist investments and businesses. Indicative factors of this growth are the increase in the number of overnight stays in hotels as well as the expansion of business relations with Germany.

Lufthansa had been present in Thessaloniki for many years. It left in 2001, a year when air transport suffered a major blow after the events of the twin towers in New York and the forced adaptation of the flight network. At the same time, the signs of falling demand and purchasing power in the region were intense resulting in this air link being unsustainable.


  • What are the company’s goals and expectations for this flight since it is part of the winter programme, which is less of a tourist interest?


I am optimistic about the movement and completeness of the positions during the winter season. Thessaloniki can also attract German tourists in the winter, as it is an excellent suggestion for short excursions – since there are areas of natural, historical, archaeological and cultural interest in a very short distance – as well as a city break destination. Let us not forget that it is the largest urban centre of Northern Greece. It is a vibrant city all day long, it has its own special ‘‘colour’’, and has become widely known for its gastronomy and quality entertainment options.

In addition, we believe that the continuing investments in both the port and the airport will show the geostrategic importance of its location and this will have a direct positive impact on attracting businesses and hence on the demand for business trips.


  • At a recent meeting organized by the Greek-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Thessaloniki, the Lufthansa Group’s Flight Management Team reported that the possibility of linking with Munich is explored. How mature is this plan?


Greece is a key market for the Lufthansa Group. Our interest remains firmly focused on the domestic developments and competition in the country’s aviation market. In this context, the discussion of additional Lufthansa Group investments in our country is ongoing. The possibility of direct connection between Thessaloniki and Munich has not been rejected, but for our part there is no specific information about the timing of the implementation of the plan.


– What is the presence of the Lufthansa Group in Thessaloniki? Is there a plan for linking Makedonia airport to new destinations?

Two more airlines of the Lufthansa Group, Austian Airlines and Eurowings, will offer flights this winter from Thessaloniki to popular destinations in Germany and Austria. Eurowings – the low-cost and high-quality Lufthansa’s subsidiary – will connect Thessaloniki with Cologne-Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart, while Austrian Airlines will offer direct flights to Vienna.

Discussions on new destinations are in progress, but there is no decision that we can announce at this time.


– How does the growing presence of low-cost airlines but also companies outside Europe affect the firm and the airline map of Europe?

The presence of low-cost airlines as well as companies outside Europe clearly causes increased competition in our industry. Increasing competition in its turn leads airlines to seek ways to improve the competitiveness of their aviation product. New destinations, more routes, frequent flyer rewards, offers, specialised services and in-flight entertainment are the main features that airlines are focusing on to distinguish themselves in the competition arena.

The frequency of routes, the easy and fast airport transfers, the state-of-the-art modern aircrafts, the cabin spaces, the lounges, the in-flight services, the attractive frequent flyer programmes – as much for those travelling for personal reasons or for pleasure, and for those who travel for business – and of course the overall value for money, are Lufthansa’s top quality features that maintain high competitive strengths in its products and services.

At the same time, the Lufthansa Group is continuously improving the quality of its services and the passenger’s overall travel experience – from the moment he buys the ticket to the moment of the arrival at the destination – investing in the digitisation and personalisation of air services in order to be able to understand and meet the need of each of our passengers separately.

The ‘‘kingdom’’ of street, track, sky and space simulation is in Thessaloniki

By | News

The world’s largest carmakers, from Mercedes to Toyota and from Peugeot to Honda, have been using Greek emission simulation and antifouling engine technology for a few years now, developed by researchers based in Thessaloniki. The Formula 1 teams have also been using this technology. At the same time, the Commission, 22 out of the 28 EU member states and the government of Hong Kong also rely on Greek ‘‘lights’’ for the census of pollutant emissions from road transport. Also, scientists in Thessaloniki are working on technologies that have raised NASA’s interest, while laboratories where Greek researchers are employed invent technologies in Northern Greece that reach the Airbus aircrafts.

Some decades ago, the phrase ‘‘Technology Made in Greece’’, especially for the automotive industry, would probably cause question if not smirks in the foreign markets, but now, companies such as ‘‘BETA CAE’’ based in K. Scholari of Thessaloniki and spin-offs such as ‘‘EXOTHERMIA’’ and ‘‘EMISIA’’, created in 2007 and 2008 respectively, within the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, have begun to change the image by creating important islets of innovation in the field of simulation and in general CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering). At the same time, the high level of the Greek research force has drawn in Northern Greece foreign companies from cutting-edge industries, such as the US ‘‘ALTAIR’’, which through Thessaloniki produces research work exploited even by Airbus. In any case, it is now clear that the environment that is formed in the area, where the Alexander Innovation Zone is active, is absolutely appropriate for the development of business activities characterized by innovation and high specialization.

Large room for investments in next generation access networks in Northern Greece

By | News

The implementation of the ‘‘Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB)’’ project by the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media aims at mapping private investment projects related to Next Generation Access (NGA). This particular project, which has to do particularly with Northern Greece, aims at creating the necessary infrastructure for the provision of high-speed broadband internet services in areas of the country which are not covered by such networks.

With the detailed listing of private investments, which are scheduled by the end of 2023, the General Secretariat for Telecommunications and Post of the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media will be given the opportunity to plan in the best possible way the new action, which forms part of an intervention grid for the full coverage of the country by fiber-optic networks. This is expected to change the image and broaden the growth potential of the domestic digital economy, which will decisively facilitate the promotion of innovative projects, solutions and proposals.

The ‘‘Ultra-Fast Broadband’ project will be implemented through Public-Private Partnerships with a budget of 350 million euros. The financial size of the project itself shows the needs that exist and the perspectives that are being created, while the public involvement funds come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – Operational Programme ‘‘Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, Innovation’’ (EPAnEK) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP).

KSA: From Thessaloniki to the heart of the cement industry

By | Success stories

A series of new collaborations is being added to the long list of KSA Superalloys Engineering, the innovative company of Thessaloniki, which takes on work at the heart of the cement industries (and not only) around the world.

KSA, which specializes in the production of industrial components from wear resistant materials as well as in-situ mechanical upgrades and super-hard surface coatings, is now entering the Turkish market starting a partnership with Akcansa Cimento, while a new round of partnerships has opened with the Dutch company WIVE which produces components for the end user environmental industry and the energy producer Engie.


The mechanical engineering company of Vassilis and Loizos Kehayas has had recently significant contacts with Nesher Cement in Israel, while its next mission is at the plant of the multinational company CEMEX in the Philippines in August.


As Mr. Kehayas says, it is not only the Greek agro-food industry that has growth-potential; an industry which has undoubtedly great potential and promising prospects. Mr. Kehayas has claimed that Greece has the technical know-how and also innovates in specialized fields that produce products, machines and precision equipment to support the heavy industry, that is the cement, mining, metallurgy, energy industries but also the medical device manufacturing industry, the shipbuilding industry as well as the food and packaging industries.


KSA’s list includes big company names such as the German company Loesche, the leading mills manufacturer for cement and mining industries, the Swiss firm Sulzer, the Dutch company Wive, which manufactures components for the waste recycling industry, the American multinational CEMEX, Nesher Cement, BMIC, TITAN, Lafarge, Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (ELPE), vtti, vttv, Vassiliko Cement, Hellenic Public Power Corporation S.A. (DEI).


KSA Superalloys Engineering O.E. was founded in 2003. Since 2009 it has focused on two directions of R&D (Research and Development) – on the machine coatings made of powder metallised ceramics and carbides and on the use of extremely durable superalloys as well as on the manufacture of machines for cutting, shaping and processing of special materials. A powerful comparative advantage of the innovative company is the in-situ performance of tasks combined with real-time measurements that the D.O.M.D. device has developed and with which axial oscillations are measured.


Mr. Vassilis Kehayas was a member of the Board of Directors of the Alexander Innovation Zone as a representative of the Exporters’ Association of Northern Greece.

Two stores of digital transformation operate in Thessaloniki

By | News

The Nanotechnology Laboratory and the nZEB  Smart House function as ‘‘one stop stores’’ with the aim of digital business transformation.

Five centers that support businesses with their digital transformation, Digital Innovation Hub, are already operating in Greece as ‘‘one stop stores’’, where companies, mainly small and medium enterprises, start ups and small cap businesses are being helped to improve their business models, offered services, production lines and products through Digital Technology.

This is a pan-European goal set in 2016 in the framework of the European Union Strategy for a Single Digital Market, so that any business in Europe in any sector, regardless of its location and size, can take advantage of the benefits that stem from the digital innovations.

There are five DIHs in Greece, two of which are in Thessaloniki. Something quite normal and expected for the Greek standards, since the Alexander Innovation Zone SA is active in the city, which aims at promoting innovation as a business practice and a comparative advantage in the wider region.

Analytically these are:

The LTFN Nanotechnology Laboratory, with its facilities at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Center for Organic and Printed Electrical Engineering (COPE-H) in the area of Thermi in Thessaloniki.

The ‘‘Athena’’ Research Center in Athens

The nZEB Smart House – Smart Energy House, in Thessaloniki.

The Center for Digital Innovation in Blue Growth

According to the Nanotechnology Laboratory announcement, coordinated by the Research Institutions of Excellence, DIHs offer: 1) access to digital technologies, tools and know-how, 2) infrastructures for testing new technologies, 3) educational activities for the development of digital skills, 4) consulting services for finding funding schemes, 5) market analyses, 6) networking opportunities. Practices that offer practical business solutions.

”In the European Union the fully functioning DIHs are 174, and another 500 are in a preparatory phase. The outcome of the New Digital Age and at the same time one of the ten European Union’s political priorities for the next decade is the achievement of the Digital Single Market (DSM). The EU objective is the integrated Single Digital Market that will bring

€ 415 billion per year to its economy, creating new jobs, new businesses and enabling existing businesses to be aimed at a market of 500 million people, developing public services and establishing an open government system”, explains the person responsible for issues of extroversion and exploitation of innovation at the LTFN Nanotechnology Laboratory of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the HOPE-A Hellenic Organic and Printed Electronics Association, Phoebe Logothetidis.

European Platform of National Initiatives, but not for us…

60% of large enterprises and 90% of small businesses lag behind the integration of digital innovations with wide variations being recorded between different sectors of the industry. Great emphasis is put on the preparation of the Europeans for the New Digital Age so as to take advantage of the benefits of Digital Transformation. The education system will be adapted and the workforce will be trained in similar skills. The Digital Innovation Hubs will play a key role in assessing the skills needs of the workforce of businesses and providing appropriate educational services.

”Appropriate policies and the appropriate channeling of funds are needed to effectively adapt to the new era. The European Platform of National Initiatives launched in March 2017 with the commitment of the member states and the attraction of investments and various cooperative actions. There are already 15 national initiatives, in which however Greece is not included, and this shows that we have not acted promptly.

A source of funding for the DEI initiative and, more specifically, the DIHs project would be the proper capitalisation of funds from the ”European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). However, this is determined by the National and Regional Strategies for Digital Development and Research and Technology Strategies for Smart Specialization (RIS3), which need to emphasize or even integrate such initiatives into their plans”, as noted in the relevant announcement.

New display opportunities for Greek businesses on Cloud

By | News

From September 2018 Greek businesses will have the opportunity to be advertised for free in the international market; to promote their products on the cloud of GS1 standards, on the cloud of barcodes.

According to the Market Development Manager of GS1 Association Greece Dimitris Christou, the International Organisation for ISO supply chain management standards, of which Greece is one of 112 members, will very soon make available to companies a very important service for product recognition but indirectly for their promotion.

As yet, as Mr. Christou points out, the barcode on a product gives information only about the manufacturer, which is no longer enough for the major electronic commerce companies, such as eBay, Alibaba, Amazon, Google. Now the next step of GS1, which will be implemented with the use of cloud, will be the GS1 Cloud, which will provide information on the products as well – for instance labels and descriptions – as well as their images.

The GS1 Cloud comes out in September with three functions, starting with the first one, the ‘‘check’’, which will verify the product’s valid or non-valid barcode.

The second function is the ‘‘view’’, while the third function, the ‘‘explore’’, will be the most important since it will allow the search of a product on cloud.

The GS1 Cloud can be used as a very helpful tool by the customs and the financial control officers, but it is certainly a very powerful tool for promoting products.

In the first phase of the standard on cloud, seven fields per product will be included, while in the next phase which will have the characteristics of B2C, the fields will be able to reach the number of 30, depending on the information that companies will wish to provide about their products.