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New Olympic Air Carrier Before Summer

Transport Minister Michael Liapis told reporters last month that he would soon appoint a board of directors for the proposed new Olympic Airways company, which he expects to start flying this spring (press reports say September at the earliest).

The new company, according to published reports, will have a capital of some 150 million euros, of which 40 million will come from government coffers and the remainder from as many as 30 private investors (most likely equity investors and Greek ship owners).

Greece, however, must reduce the size of state-owned Olympic Airlines by 30 percent so the troubled company can be privatized, according to the international consulting firm Sabre, which was hired by the government to assess the airline’s future. According to press reports following an operational plan that was presented in London by the consultancy firm, Olympic must be downsized if it wants to attract investors.

The reductions will affect the number of staff and its flight destinations. Reports say the airline will most likely keep U.S. destinations on its flight schedules, but will drop other countries, including South Africa.

The plan, presented to senior government officials, says Olympic should have no more than 4,500 staffers. Some estimates put present airline staff at more than 8,000. Other Olympic Airlines changes that Sabre recommended are said to include trimming the company’s maintenance services, operating between 30 and 40 aircraft and offering a number of ground and cargo services.

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