The head of Aegean Airlines, Greece’s flag carrier, on Friday said the company’s board will recommend the distribution of a dividend based on 2023 results, in a teleconference with aviation sector analysts.

Aegean CEO and chairman Eftichios Vassilakis emphasized that the current year is expected to see a return to profitability, essentially ending the pandemic and post-pandemic impact on the Greek carrier.

“With the purchase of the (Aegean) warrants by the Greek state, the pandemic cycle is definitively closed. The company has recovered at all levels. We are back in the market, unburdened, and with a full freedom of action,” he said, adding: “We feel we have the right to exercise our economic dynamism to the benefit of our shareholders. At next year’s general assembly we will table a proposal to approve a distribution of dividends, after four years without profit distribution.”

Aegean Airlines earlier this month announced that the Greek state had notified the company of its intention to exercise the warrants it holds – as collateral – which correspond to a bloc of the carrier’s shares.

Vassilakis expressed his support at the time for buying back those rights, with an initial price tag reaching 85.4 million euros. He noted that “… we have repeatedly said that Aegean has both the liquidity and the funds to buy them out…My proposal to the board of directors and to the shareholders’ general assembly is for the company to proceed with the rights’ acquisition from the Greek state, paying 85.4 million euros.”

An extraordinary general assembly is scheduled for Dec. 14 to approve of the buy back scheme.

Vassilakis reminded that shareholders controlling more than 60 percent of the airline’s equity have officially informed the board of directors that they will approve scheme.

Finally, he said Aegean’s EBITDA’s for 2023 will hover at between 400 to 415 million euros.