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Last chance for OA?

Greek national carrier Olympic Airways<.>` has a budget deficit of close to 40 billion drachmas and without the proper management…

Greek national carrier Olympic Airways<.>` has a budget deficit of close to 40 billion drachmas and without the proper management, its financial collapse appears imminent, Transport Minister Christos Verelis asserted in an interview with the daily Ta Nea.

In order to avoid such an eventuality, the government soon intends to announce the foreign interests who will take over the management of the ailing airline in an effort to secure a majority stakeholder. Although the government has said it intends to sell off up to 65% of the company, there has been no serious investor interest thus far.

Olympic faces a very tough six months ahead. However, if it succeeds in overcoming its difficulties and survives, then we can hope for a positive future and a buyer of a majority stake, Verelis said.

In order for investors to show interest, Olympic must become like other European carriers. This means that there must be flexibility in terms of staff, and if this requires a reduction then this will occur, either through transfers or voluntary retirement.

Verelis said that the government was willing to meet OA`s debts despite the anticipated reaction from the European Union. We have decided to discuss the matter with the EU and hope that we can convince them. Besides, it will be the last time this occurs considering it will be sold to the private sector, he noted.

As for OA`s transfer to the new Athens airport at Spata, Verelis said this will go ahead as scheduled, particularly since the EU increased the funds it will make available for this purpose by around 10 billion drachmas.

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