The perpetual tale of Olympic Airways — as of December 12, Olympic Airlines — continues with no end in sight. Although the government says it has selected one of five potential bidders for further talks on a takeover of Olympic Airlines, the slimmed-down successor to heavily indebted Olympic Airways, those in the know say the road ahead is long and filled with deep potholes.
First and foremost, the airline must undergo serious restructuring. But as this has not happened after the plethora of changes over the past decade it’s doubtful it will happen now as the airline continues to operate with the same executives as before. Nevertheless, even if a fundamental restructuring took place it would hardly be enough within this new era of airline changes.
Specialists in the field say that Olympic has two basic choices: become a low-cost carrier, which is inconceivable, or concentrate on becoming a regional carrier for Eastern Europe and the Middle East with the appropriate connections from Athens.
Concerning the latter instance, it would also have to become an accepted member of an international air alliance. At the moment, the airline is heading directly into the center of an election storm — present strike activities have cost the new “debt-free” airline some 5 million euros, according to government reports, all of which would cause a potential alliance to think twice before accepting Olympic as a partner.
And according to a recent report in the daily Kathimerini, Olympic’s pilots question the airline’s recent management decisions to assign the Athens to Melbourne route to another carrier
(“turning OA into a cheap ticket agent”) and the decision to stop flying to Barcelona and Copenhagen.
Last month, the government, through its three privatization advisers, sent invitations for expression of interest to at least five entrepreneurial schemes; four of these are said to be among the participants in the two previously failed attempts to privatize the carrier.
The eternal tale of Olympic Airways > Airlines > … continues.