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Olympic Airways takes first step toward privatization

Olympic Airways took its first step toward privatization on July 1 when it signed an agreement with British Airways officials whereby the UK carrier`s Speedwing subsidiary will undertake the management of the Greek airline for a period of 30 months.
Under an existing agreement in principle, Speedwing`s assignment is to make Olympic<.> profitable, and take the ailing carrier into an international alliance. British Airways will also have an option to buy a 20 percent stake in Olympic.
The government quickly sought to improve industrial relations at troubled national carrier Olympic Airways by calling for consensus talks between unions and the company`s new British manager.
Unions, however, the following day called a 24-hour strike to protest the award of a 30-month management contract. The government in the meantime has said that labor and social insurance rights will not be affected by the award of the contract to a foreign operator.
The government also said that it would speed up Olympic`s transfer to the new international airport for Athens at Spata scheduled for completion in March. It said the airline could garner extra revenue there by offering services to third parties. It would also be compensated for the expense of the move.
Furthermore, the government met its commitments towards Olympic`s fleet renewal by providing a guarantee of 375 million U.S. dollars.
Under the law passed in parliament, Olympic`s unions will retain their two members on Olympic`s board.

Olympic Airways took its first step toward privatization on July 1 when it signed an agreement with British Airways officials whereby the UK carrier`s Speedwing subsidiary will undertake the management of the Greek airline for a period of 30 months.

Under an existing agreement in principle, Speedwing`s assignment is to make Olympic<.> profitable, and take the ailing carrier into an international alliance. British Airways will also have an option to buy a 20 percent stake in Olympic.

The government quickly sought to improve industrial relations at troubled national carrier Olympic Airways by calling for consensus talks between unions and the company`s new British manager.

Unions, however, the following day called a 24-hour strike to protest the award of a 30-month management contract. The government in the meantime has said that labor and social insurance rights will not be affected by the award of the contract to a foreign operator.

The government also said that it would speed up Olympic`s transfer to the new international airport for Athens at Spata scheduled for completion in March. It said the airline could garner extra revenue there by offering services to third parties. It would also be compensated for the expense of the move.

Furthermore, the government met its commitments towards Olympic`s fleet renewal by providing a guarantee of 375 million U.S. dollars.

Under the law passed in parliament, Olympic`s unions will retain their two members on Olympic`s board.

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