ATHENS, Greece—Olympic was the first Greek airline to travel abroad, spreading the glory and hospitality of its native country around the world. Now the ailing state company will be sold to a private concern, in an effort toward re-invigoration.
Olympic Airlines originally belonged to the famous Aristoteles Onasis (from 1957), who, before his death in 1975, sold the company to the Greek government. The airline had been having economic problems for the last 20 years, and the rumors of its demise have now finally been fulfilled.
Despite employee strikes and vehement disagreement with the decision, Greek political leaders, with the encouragement of the EU, finally sold Olympic Airlines to a private company called Marfin.
The Minister of Economics said: "After so many unsuccessful attempts that lasted 20 years, Olympic Airlines being privatized is something good. From the 300 million euros that it cost the government each year, now we are waiting to have 150 million euros per year."
Marfin’s first step will be to check through the employee lists. They say some will be transferred to other public services, some will stay and provide their experience and knowledge, and some will take long-service leave, heading down the path to retirement.